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Upstate SC Proven a Leader for Foreign Direct Investment

June 23, 2014

2014 has been a strong year for foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Upstate of South Carolina, accounting for more than 2,100 announced jobs and $2.2 billion in announced capital investment. In the latest research from the Brookings Institution, we get a look at the concentration of FDI in the Upstate and the impact it has on our economy.

The Upstate SC Alliance continues their focus on strengthening our region’s ties to international markets. In addition to our work with the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase, our team will be promoting the Upstate business climate and developing relationships internationally in the United Kingdom, Germany, China and India between now and the end of the year.

Find out more about our work with the Global Cities Initiative.




Upstate S.C. —Today, the Brookings Institution released a first-ever metro-level analysis of foreign direct investment’s role in the Upstate’s regional economy as part of its Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase.

The report analyzes the types of foreign-owned businesses located in the area, outlines the region’s sources of foreign investment and demonstrates the number of jobs supported locally by foreign direct investment (FDI).The report finds that among the largest 100 metropolitan areas, Greenville ranks 23rd for share of jobs in foreign-owned enterprises (FOEs) at 6.1 percent. The report also finds that among all 366 metropolitan areas:

  • Spartanburg ranks 3rd for share of jobs in FOEs, at 18.0 percent (behind Columbus, IN and Kokomo, IN)
  • Anderson ranks 7th for share of jobs in FOEs, at 13.4 percent
  • Greenville ranks 67th for share of jobs in FOEs, at 6.1 percent

Among the country’s 616 micropolitan areas:

  • Gaffney ranks 11th for share of jobs in FOEs, at 23.6 percent
  • Greenwood ranks 22nd for share of jobs in FOEs, at 14.5 percent
  • Seneca ranks 38th for share of jobs in FOEs, at 11.7 percent
  • Union ranks 90th for share of jobs in FOEs, at 7.5 percent

(Pre-2013 metropolitan/micropolitan delineations)

The Upstate region has a high concentration of jobs supported by FDI: 10.6 percent of the Upstate region’s jobs are in FOEs, which is double the national average. Combined, Anderson, Gaffney, Greenville, Greenwood, Seneca, Spartanburg and Union metro and micro areas housed 50,600 jobs in FOEs in 2011.

“Foreign-owned businesses are an important component of the U.S. economy, supporting millions of jobs across every economic sector throughout the country,” said John Lummus, president/CEO of the Upstate SC Alliance. “This report gives the Upstate region a key resource to demonstrate the impact foreign direct investment has on our regional economy.”

According to the Brookings report, the benefits of FDI extend well beyond the millions of jobs supported. For example, U.S. affiliates of foreign companies pay well above average wages. These companies strengthen U.S. trade, producing more than one-fifth of all U.S. goods exported. Additionally, nineteen percent of all corporate R&D expenditures in the United States come from foreign-owned companies. Finally, 48 percent of total FDI flows in 2012 went to manufacturing industries, shoring up the nation’s eroding production base.

While metro areas have traditionally focused on attracting greenfield investment, this new data shows that most FDI enters regions through mergers and acquisitions. In the average year, mergers and acquisitions account for 87 percent of all FDI inflows into the United States. These investments have significant economic potential—for example, cash infusions can help local businesses expand, and new access to global distribution networks can boost exports.

“This new data allows U.S. metro areas, for the first time, to better grasp FDI sources and trends, and its impact on local economies,” said Brad McDearman, Brookings fellow and director of metro trade and investment. “As part of the Global Cities Initiative, the Upstate of South Carolina is at the forefront of U.S. metro areas seeking to position themselves as more globally fluent and competitive regions by developing a regional global trade and investment plan.”

Read more at: http://www.brookings.edu/MetroFDI.

Launched in 2012, the Global Cities Initiative is a five-year joint project of Brookings and JPMorgan Chase aimed at helping city and metropolitan leaders become more globally fluent by providing an in-depth and data-driven look at their regional standing on crucial global economic measures, highlighting best policy and practice innovations from around the world, and creating an international network of leaders who ultimately trade and grow together. For more information please visit http://www.brookings.edu/projects/global-cities.aspx or www.jpmorganchase.com/globalcities.

The Upstate SC Alliance is a public/private regional economic development organization designed to market and brand the Upstate of South Carolina. The Upstate represents the commerce-rich northwestern corner of South Carolina, including the I-85 corridor and the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson combined statistical area. Additional information is available through the Alliance’s website, www.upstateSCalliance.com.

TOPICS: News You Can Use, International, Rankings & Recognitions