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Foreign Direct Investment: Bringing the Benefits of Globalization Back Home

January 23, 2009

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The U.S. has for years been the world's most significant investor overseas, reaping significant returns from moving capital and business operations into foreign markets. But the tables are turning. Today, foreign investors and foreign-owned corporations play a growing role in the U.S. domestic economy. The reaction around the country has been mixed.

For the most part, New Yorkers have encouraged foreign investment and embraced the global marketplace. Dating back to development of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan in the 1970's, New York City and State have sought to position themselves to take advantage of globalization. As a result, foreign investment in real estate and business operations, as well as tourism from foreign countries, have contributed heavily to the economic expansion that New York City has enjoyed over the past thirty years.

For the first time, this report puts numbers to the contribution that job-generating foreign investment (known as Foreign Direct Investment or FDI) makes to New York City's economy, and they are impressive. In 2006, FDI accounted for about $58 billion, or more than 10 per cent of the $570 billion Gross City Product.1 This data was produced using an econometric model developed by DTZ, a leading global real estate advisory and consultancy firm. There is a detailed note on methodology at the end of the report.

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