On May 18, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual Invest in America! Summit, bringing together global investors and policymakers from across the United States. Speakers included Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Governors Doug Ducey (R-AZ) and Matt Bevin (R-KY.).

The Organization for International Investment’s president and CEO Nancy McLernon led the Summit’s panel on “State Success Stories and New Opportunities,” which featured:

  • Rolando Pablos, Texas Secretary of State
  • Philip Gunn, Mississippi Speaker of the House
  • Mike Preston, Arkansas Economic Development Commission Executive Director

The panelists discussed the benefits of FDI in their states, how they work to make their states open for business, and ways to stay competitive in an increasingly global economy. A major theme was workforce development.

Speaker Philip Gunn highlighted Mississippi’s work to attract a Continental Tire plant to Clinton, Mississippi. The greenfield site will bring in $1.4 billion in investment and employ 2,500 people when it reaches full capacity. Part of the equation was the state’s business climate. In the words of Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant:

“The company’s decision to bring 2,500 new jobs to Central Mississippi speaks volumes about our dedication to developing the workforce of the future, as well as a business environment that spurs growth, expansion and innovation.”

Arkansas Economic Development Commission Executive Director Mike Preston talked about the state’s leadership in attracting Chinese FDI. One highlight was a $410 million investment in Forrest City by Shandong Ruyi Technology Group, a Chinese company building its first U.S. textile manufacturing plant. During the workforce development discussion, Mr. Preston highlighted how Arkansas is the first state to implement computer coding classes in all public and charter high schools, helping to prepare students for the 21st century economy.

Secretary of State for Texas Rolando Pablos focused on how relationships have meant the difference for Texas’ efforts and how promoting cultural understanding within the state helps FDI attraction efforts. To the crowd, he was very direct: “Texas is open for business, come any time!” He later tweeted: “TEXAS IS THE PLACE TO BE!

Miss the Invest in America! Summit? See the live tweets recapping the event @FDIFrontlines