White House: Foreign Investment Key To Infrastructure Plans

June 21, 2017
upgrading the nation's infrastructure will require substantial investment from the private sector

At Tuesday's SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said upgrading the nation's roads, bridges, public works and other infrastructure will require substantial investment from the private sector, including money invested by other countries.

“Working with foreign investors is going to be a critical part of any plan we put forward,” Mnuchin said. "Public-private partnerships are crucial to ensuring that the American taxpayer does not bear the full cost of any proposed program."

According to TheHill.com, to meet the $1 billion infrastructure improvement promised by the Trump White House, the administration is hoping to spend $200 billion to leverage $1 trillion worth of overall investments by encouraging foreign investors.

To entice those investors, the administration is seeking regulatory reform to shorten project delivery times and selling off public assets to private sector investors.

Earlier this year, Japan said it plans to invest $150 billion in public and private funds over the next 10 years in the U.S. and Saudi Arabia recently made a tentative pledge to invest $20 billion in a new infrastructure fund managed by The Blackstone Group, a private investment firm led by Trump economic advisor Steve Schwarzman.

Secretary of the Commerce Department Wilbur Ross also assured Chinese investors that the Trump administration would treat them fairly, promising "the playing field will be totally level." China invested $46 billion in the U.S. in 2016, triple the amount seen in 2015 and a tenfold increase compared to just five years ago, according to a report jointly released by the Rhodium Group and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.

Speaking directly to foreign investors in the SelectUSA audience, Mnuchin said, " The United States is one of the world’s most open investment environments and will remain a leading destination for international investment. The reform program we have put forward is going to make the U.S. an even more attractive place to do business."

Initiated by the Obama administration, the SelectUSA Investment Summit is the highest-profile event dedicated to promoting foreign direct investment in the United States. This year's summit attracted around 3,000 participants from more than 60 international markets.