WASHINGTON — President Obama and several officials, touting new business investment in the U.S. and the Made in America brand, are set to hold a roundtable discussion at the White House today with business leaders, including an executive from a Canadian legwear company expanding its production in America.
The White House released a report early this morning titled “Winning Business Investment in the United States” that outlined growth in foreign direct investment, expanded investment by U.S. companies and the competitive advantages such as low energy costs that drive new investment.
Last year, net FDI in the U.S., measured by U.S. assets of foreign affiliates, hit an all-time high of $4.6 trillion, while FDI “inflows have swelled, totaling $1.5 trillion between 2006 and 2012,” according to the report. FDI inflows in 2013 rose to $193 billion from $166 billion in 2012.
The White House said the amount of re-shoring from U.S. companies is difficult to track, but noted that “all signs are that it is growing.” To that end, the administration highlighted several companies that have benefited from its SelectUSA program, launched in 2011, which has facilitated $18 billion in new investment for the U.S, the report said.
The Richelieu Group, a Canadian-based legwear company with such brands as Peds, Coolfeet and Growing Socks, is set to significantly expand in the U.S. this year, the report said. In 2011, Richelieu invested $7 million in North Carolina-based International Legwear Group, which had filed for Chapter 7 liquidation. The company rehired 45 workers that had been laid off.
“Today, in an area hard-hit by recession, the business is thriving and the workforce has nearly doubled,” the report said.
The company is poised to unveil an initial investment of $9 million in a new state-of-the-art facility in the Southeast that will re-shore production and aims to create more than 200 jobs. An additional $15 million is planned for a second phase, the report said. The new factory will produce socks that will be sold across the country, as well as exported to Canada, Mexico and South Korea.
Richelieu’s new investment is being supported by one of its major customers, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which is itself in the midst of a 10-year, $50 billion investment in Made in America products that the company has said will amount to $250 billion cumulatively over the next decade. The retail giant signed a multiyear commitment with Richelieu and will provide support throughout the planning process, according to the report.
SelectUSA, through its U.S. Commercial Service in Canada, and CS Canada also assisted Richelieu, the White House said, helping the company “navigate the intricacies of federal regulations for investing” in the U.S.
“The Obama administration has set the framework and Wal-Mart has invested in American pride,” said Michael Penner, president and chief executive officer of Richelieu, who will participate in the roundtable discussion. “Our success is testament to the talent and pride of the American workforce and particularly to the women and men who work at our facility in Hildebran, North Carolina. This is one example of the government and the private sector working together to the benefit of all Americans.”
The roundtable will also be co-hosted by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett and National Economic Council Director Jeff Zients.
The first Select USA Summit was held in October. The White House also said a second SelectUSA summit will be held in Washington next spring.