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 https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=ab1aaab4-4523-422c-9ce7-7a9aa2ff3a34



The Dynamic Relationship Between MNC’s and International Politics


If you were to walk down West Georgia Street and the average person and ask them “who holds the power in international politics?” you would probably get a standard answer. Most people are entrenched in the school of thought that nations such as the USA, Russia, and China are the most powerful actors in international politics. Although they are not incorrect, most people do not regard multinational corporations as power political agents. For the common person, they do not think of companies such as Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google as power-wielding political powers. However, when we analyze the processes of these corporations we see that they control global supply chains, sell mass amounts of products, directly influence global politics for personal or industrywide gain. With the exception of relationships such as Jeff Bezos and Donald Trump, the majority of high profile multinational corporations have a very positive working relationship with government agencies. This is evident through footloose tactics and tax dodging tactics. With that in mind, the question can be raised about which agents hold the most power in international politics.


In an analysis performed by The Economist, there was a comparison made on the valuation of corporations compared to states. Unsurprisingly, the top valuations were held by the likes of the US, China, Eurozone, and Japan.  However, there is an ample amount of corporations mixed in around the top of the list. For example, companies such as Berkshire Hathaway exceeded the valuation of states such as New Zealand, Australia, and Spain. According to the analysis chart, of the top 100 income producers, 71 of them were “nongovernmental” corporations. Another example of relations between governments and multinational corporations is that of Amazon and the US. In a publicly mixed relationship, Bezos and Trump have had aggressive comments towards each other and their intentions of power. However, Blue Origin, Bezos’s private company recently signed a $2 billion contract to supply rockets for the Pentagons satellite project. This is a fantastic highlight of how the world of politics and multinational corporations is not separate and rigid, it is a dynamic and transitioning to an ever related conglomerate.


It is difficult to argue against the facts that multinational corporations possess an enormous amount of political and economic power. As the distinction between politics and corporations continues to melt, there needs to be a sufficient amount of emphasis on regulation of political manipulation.




Heemskerk, E., Fichtner, J., & Babic, M. (n.d.). Who is more powerful – states or corporations? Retrieved April 4, 2019, from http://theconversation.com/who-is-more-powerful-states-or-corporations-99616


Liberto, D. (n.d.). Jeff Bezos Says Amazon Will Support Pentagon. Retrieved April 4, 2019, from https://www.investopedia.com/news/jeff-bezos-says-amazon-will-support-pentagon/