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Seven useful tips for pursuing FDI
Eli Dile   on Monday, December 18, 2017 at 12:00:00 am

Foreign companies invested $373 billion in the United States last year, employing 7 million Americans. Winning an FDI project injects new dynamism into a local economy and comes with many advantages (for example, foreign companies pay $17,000 more, on average, than their domestic equivalents).

But working with foreign prospects demands an extra layer of sophistication. The Site Selectors Guild recently shared several FDI attraction tips on its blog; here are a few takeaways.

  1. Don’t assume your audience knows where you’re located or your location advantages. Foreign firms typically are not familiar with most regions outside of major metropolitan areas, which is why marketing as a region or state is important.

  2. Many firms prefer to acquire domestic companies versus building greenfield projects, which can be more expensive and risky. Familiarizing oneself with the mergers and acquisitions process will give you a leg up during these projects.

  3. Foreign professionals often have unfamiliar titles or hold different responsibilities, especially in family-owned European firms and state-owned Asian enterprises. Ask upfront who to communicate with and clarify roles.

  4. Doing business under U.S. federalism will be a new and potentially frustrating experience for many, especially navigating regulations and tax policy at the city, county, state, and federal levels. EDOs can serve as much-appreciated guides to the U.S. business climate.

  5. Working with a union also may be a new experience for a foreign company, so it’s important to explain how collective bargaining works and dispel myths about organized labor.

  6. Play up your rail connections. European rail is dedicated primarily to passenger service, and most goods are transported via truck or ship. Be sure the prospect understands the value of rail to U.S. logistics.

  7. Incentives, understandably, can confuse a foreign prospect. It’s best to take the time and clearly explain what they can do, and just as importantly, what they can’t do.

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