Today the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness formally recommended a National Investment Initiative (NII), as part of a comprehensive report, "Taking Action, Building Confidence," which would be the first ever attempt by the United States to systematically attract foreign direct investment.
The Council is led by led by GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt. A release on the GE web site said the new report outlines formal, targeted proposals aimed at catalyzing near-term job growth, accelerating job creation and competitiveness over the next 2-5 years, and transforming America’s position over the next 5-10 years.
The Council's proposals fall into five key areas - many of which do not depend on major legislative action or government funding:
1 - Aggressive and Efficient Investment in Infrastructure and Energy
The Council recommends accelerated public and private investment in U.S. energy and infrastructure to both create near-term jobs at a time when more than one million construction workers are unemployed and also increase American competitiveness in the longer term. Among the specific proposals are:
• creating a national infrastructure financing organization to draw private capital
• speeding implementation of a next generation air traffic control system
• expanding broadband to rural Americans who lack access now
• modernize and expand the electric grid through transmission siting reform
2 - Nurturing and Empowerment of High-Growth Startups and Small Businesses
The council said that, in the last 30 years, high-growth businesses less than five years old have been responsible for all of the net new job creation in America, or 40 million net new jobs. In recognition of this, the Council recommended broad measures like:
• removing regulatory barriers
• simplifying access to Small Business Administration financing.
The Council also recommended more specific measures, such as:
• making it easier for entrepreneurs to get patent-related answers faster
• allowing university faculty to shop discoveries to any technology transfer office
Separately today, the Startup American Partnership - dedicated to helping young companies grow to create jobs in the U.S. – announced the Startup-Corporate Connection Program, in which Partnership sponsors American Express, Dell, GE, Intuit, and Microsoft will commit to helping young companies create customer relationships, acquire talent, and expand globally.
3 - Launching a National Investment Initiative
The Council noted that, since the late 1990s, the U.S. share of global foreign direct investment (FDI) dropped by a third, from 26% to 18%. The Council aims to attract $1 trillion of FDI over the next 4-5 years by:
• leveraging local advantages through Innovation Investment Zones
• establishing supply chain partnerships
• upgrading SelectUSA and improving coordination with the states
• improving immigration policies to bring jobs to the U.S.
• reforming the tax system to draw investment
4 - Streamlining Regulations and Balancing Regulatory Review
The Council’s proposals for reducing the regulatory burden on businesses are aimed at speeding the creation of jobs already in the pipeline for an immediate positive impact. They include:
• reforming the project permitting, visa, FDA approval, and patent application processes
• accelerating payments to small federal suppliers to put cash in small business hands right away
5 - Developing Talent
Roughly 3 million job openings sit unfilled today because of a lack of qualified applicants. The Council offers both short and longer-term strategies for closing the skills gap:
• a “Right Skills Now” project to create advanced manufacturing skills training partnerships between community colleges and employers
• a “10,000 Engineers” initiative to graduate more U.S. engineers
• healthcare skills partnership to train and place healthcare workers
• immigration rules changes to allow high-skilled immigrants to stay in the U.S.
A statement by Nancy McLernon, president and CEO, Organization for International Investment was also released by the Council: “Over the last decade, the United States has lost considerable ground in attracting cross border investment and the jobs that come with it," McLernon said. "A National Investment Initiative would send a strong positive message to global companies that the U.S. welcomes their business. We applaud the President’s Jobs Council for its work to elevate a policy discussion on how more global investment in the United States could directly benefit American workers.”
to Daily News