Make America Great Again? The USA outlook on Foreign Direct Investment

Foreign direct investment within the United States signifies a substantial section of the entire US economy. However, the relationship between the US Government and foreign direct investment in the form of multinational corporations have a turbulent relationship. Throughout various presidential reigns, the US government has maintained favorable conditions in order to attract FDI from a variety of sources. Throughout history, the US has been a front-runner in leading negotiating on free trade agreements as well as direct investment in the form of corporations. Furthermore, the model bilateral investment treaty in the form of Free Trade Agreements has been adopted globally. Examples such as the Dominican Republic and Central American Free Trade Agreement.


With the recent induction of Donald Trump, this historic ideology of American attitude towards FDI has been questioned. Trump has been very open and public about his attitude towards free trade agreements such as NAFTA. Trump believes that within these free trade agreements, the USA is carrying to much weight compared to its fellow constituents. An example of this is the US withdraw of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in January 2017.  Furthermore, his regimes attitude towards multinational corporations such as Huawei has been anything but favorable.


However, the United States remains as an enormous beneficiary of FDI. If we compare 2017 to 2016 we see a $182 billion reduction in foreign direct investment. A large part of this is due to the Trump administration and their attitude towards foreign investment. Instead of looking for outside investment, Trump has targeted American sources of investment in order to boost the economy. Interestingly enough, Trump claims that the American economy has grown significantly with the unemployment rate at its lowest in years; all since he has taken office.


That being said, the United States still needs to uphold a sizeable amount of foreign investment to allow for some diversification. As of today, the majority of FDI is spread over the wholesale and retail trade, information, banking, finance and insurance, real estate, and scientific biotechnology. As stated, the US is still home to a large amount of diverse, foreign investment. However, it is beginning to change and will continue on this path if Trump is re-elected. Will Trump make America (economically) great again? Probably not, but time will tell.



Urquhart, Q. E., Orta, S. L.-D. M., Peck, J., & Cheng, T.-H. (n.d.). Investment Treaty Arbitration in the USA | Lexology. Retrieved April 4, 2019, from


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