Foreign Investment: Where New Money Hails From

Foreign Investment: Where New Money Hails From

Why you should care

Because investment in the U.S. and former empires is pouring in from some surprising sources.

U.S. Investment From the North

The U.K. brought us fish and chips, Will and Kate, and David Beckham. But it also brings big investment bucks. Among all the foreigners investing in the United States, it’s companies from the United Kingdom that have brought the most money. However, another member of the British Commonwealth might be sneaking up on it — one much closer to home. Companies in the Great White North more than doubled their investments in the U.S. between 2010 and 2012 and now rank fourth among foreign countries investing in America. This cash infusion in turn helps shape the American job market. With the share of global FDI shrinking, as more and more foreign businesses are being lured to the developing world, American businesses might need to start brainstorming an appropriate catchphrase for our “special” financial relationship with the Canucks. Read the story here.

Want to Live in the U.S.? Invest in a Sports Stadium

Wealthy immigrants could be funding the next U.S. sports arenas. Sports owners, developers and regional politicians are increasingly keen to use so-called EB-5 financing to help fund stadium and arena construction projects across the country. Created as part of the Immigration Act of 1990, the program encourages foreign nationals to invest in U.S. construction projects in exchange for an accelerated immigration process. A cash commitment to a development that creates U.S. jobs provides the investor, spouse and their children under 21 with conditional green cards — that become permanent if the jobs are still there after two years. However, the program has its critics, with some calling it a visas-for-sale scheme. Developers are pushing the U.S. government to increase the yearly quota of EB-5 visas, and they have the rarest of Washington commodities: broad bipartisan support. So even the critics expect the program to gain in popularity. Read the story here.

Going From Colonies to Creditors

In recent years, investors from Angola, former colony of Portugal, have bought significant chunks of Portuguese companies. Spanish officials are urging their counterparts in South America and Latin America to come invest — never mind the conquest. And an exodus of bright young Portuguese seeks opportunity abroad — often in former Portuguese colonies like Brazil, Angola and even East Timor. It’s a significant reversal from decades past, when former colonies went begging their former masters for investment, aid and trade preferences, while stomaching the brain drain of their best-educated graduates. Now the roles have reversed, at least in some quarters. Some former colonies have become emerging markets, logging fast rates of growth, while the erstwhile imperialists are scrambling to stay afloat in the global recession. Read the story here.

Photography by Shutterstock

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