Q: What Does USIIF Do?
In a nutshell, the primary function of the USIIF will be to put interested FDI investors from India in touch with appropriate business opportunities in the US. The USIIF has an up-to-date database of businesses all around the US that are interested in teaming up with foreign investors. It has access to and a working-relationship with every conceivable US body that you need to conduct preliminary research, hone-in on an investment opportunity, complete processes, and even influence policy-making in your favor! The USIIF plans to establish expert Sub-Committees in varied sectors. Committee and Sub-Committee members will lend expert counsel to interested parties in India. They will provide business advisory and even complete relocation assistance.
Whether you are up for a large acquisition or merger, expanding your existing business, or setting up a brand-new enterprise, no matter how large or small an investment you have in mind, do feel free to get in touch with USIIF for a non-committal talk. However, becoming a member does have tremendous benefits – The USIIF will regularly be inviting high-profile US delegations to interact with its members (including from the US Government), hosting networking events and talks on relevant subjects like US Tax Law, and keeping you regularly updated through its periodic informative Newsletters.
Q: How can the USIIF represent my interests with US Government authorities?
The USIIF has been set up to function under the guidance and support of the US Commercial Service. Part of its function is to act as a feedback mechanism, so that the US Federal and State Governments become aware of even small impediments to FDI investments from India. The USIIF will act as your voice, and convey glitches in the system that come in the way of foreign investments in specific circumstances. The US Government has time and time again expressed its solidarity with India to iron out issues that come in the way of progress. It stands with the USIIF in all its efforts.
Q: What is Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)?
Foreign Direct Investment, in general, refers to an investment made by a person from one country, in another country, giving him lasting interest in or a degree of influence over the management of the business enterprise invested in.
Q: How Does the U.S. Define Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)?
For the United States, ownership or control of 10% or more of an enterprise’s voting securities or the equivalent is considered as FDI. Foreign Direct Investment in a U.S. business enterprise can result from direct or indirect ownership by a foreign national. In direct ownership, the foreign national himself holds the ownership interest in the U.S. business enterprise. In indirect ownership, one or more tiers of ownership exist between the U.S. business enterprise and the foreign national.
Thus, Foreign Direct Investment in the U.S. is ownership or control, direct or indirect, by one foreign person of 10% or more of the voting securities of an incorporated U.S. business enterprise or an equivalent interest in an unincorporated U.S. business enterprise.
Q: Does the U.S. really welcome Foreign Direct Investment from India?
Yes! The United States has in fact begun many initiatives to make it easier for Indian Foreign Direct Investment across the country and across sectors. During his inauguration of the USIIF in Mumbai, US Secretary of Commerce, John Bryson quoted a powerful statement made by President Obama recently: “The US-India relation is one of the defining partnerships of the 21st Century.” Speaking about ‘Select USA’, Secretary Bryson described it as the first co-ordinated effort across US State Governments, to promote the US, adding that India is among its top 10 focus countries. In a clear sign of the US’s outstretched arms to India, Secretary Bryson said, “Resources are available to you across the States” and “We welcome you”.
Q: Do I need Official Sanction from the U.S. Government to Make a Foreign Direct Investment in the U.S.?
No. The United States does not compulsorily screen investors. The CFIUS (Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States) has the authority, however, to review individual FDI transactions to determine their effects, if any, on national security. A significant majority of FDI in the United States does not demand review by the CFIUS. In the few cases where CFIUS reviews are carried out, risk mitigation assurances are generally requested, and when these assurances are met the transactions are allowed to proceed.
Q: How long does it take to invest in a business in the US?
The time it takes to set up will naturally depend on the business requirements in terms of infrastructure, etc. However, in general, starting a business in the US is a rapid process, and even more uniquely, one that requires no minimum investment! According to the 2010 World Bank Doing Business Report, opening a business in the U.S. takes only 6 days – This is well below the world average, and well below the OECD average of 13 days.
Q: As a Foreign Investor, will my business enjoy the same benefits as American-owned ones?
Yes. Foreign investors benefit tremendously from US’s open, transparent and non-discriminatory investment climate. The United States is committed to affording all foreign investors fair and equitable treatment. Domestic and foreign owned companies fall under the same laws, rules, and procedures for acquiring or administering investments. In the United States, foreign investors will be able to access free transferability of capital and profits, advanced physical and financial infrastructure, and impartial legal recourse in the event of an investment-related dispute.
Q: Why should I choose to locate my business in the US over another country?
The United States presents foreign investors with an open and welcoming investment climate – one that has proven over time, to offer an incomparable overall risk-adjusted return on investment. The United States’ unparalleled higher education system gives investors access to a talented work-force; Its world-class infrastructure makes manufacturing, distribution and administration easy and smooth; It has the strongest intellectual property rights protections in the world; It has a fair and non-discriminatory legal system; There is very little red-tape; The US does not have a body for mandatory screening of Foreign Investors.
Political ties between India and the US have strengthened tremendously over the last few years, and with this, so has US-India commercial access. The two countries have recently renewed bi-lateral dialogue for the next 2 years, and could very possibly move into a Bilateral Investment Treaty in the future. The US Government has also expressed its awareness of its shortfalls in attracting foreign investments, and is already working on those – for example, it is working on reforming and simplifying the Corporate Tax Code, and lowering tax rates.
Q: Where in the U.S. should I invest?
Where the ideal place to invest is, is dependent on your needs. All 50 states offer no dearth of attractive opportunities, but some industries and business models might be better off in one location rather than another. The USIIF will be only too happy to introduce you to the unique business climates of any or all states. We will be happy to put you in touch with specific business opportunities across the United States of America and across all industries.
Q: How do I go about finding a business partner in the U.S.?
The USIIF has links with Trade Associations in virtually every industry across the US. As part of our services, we provide members with valuable resources for locating potential U.S.-based business partners. The U.S. Foreign Commercial Service also offers an Industry Focused Promotion Program , which provides links by industry to U.S. firms that are actively looking to partner with international firms.
Q: How does the U.S. Legal System compare to that of other countries?
The United States’ Legal System is recognized as being one of the strongest and fairest in the world. The US was the first nation to be founded on principles of Limited Self-Government. The Federal Government has 3 independent branches: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. While each branch has its own assigned function, it holds the other two in check. The US legal system draws on principles of English Common Law as far as the Federal System is concerned – The Federal Government shares its power with the State Governments.
Q: Will Skilled Labor be available in the U.S. for my business?
The US has one of the most skilled labor markets in the world—across industries. This can be attributed to its top-quality higher and professional education and training. The US houses 4,000 universities and colleges, and 7 of the world’s Top 10 universities! The Federal, State and Local Governments spend millions of dollars on workforce training every year, across many different sectors.
Q: Does the US have an Adequate Transportation Infrastructure Network?
The US boasts of excellent internal connectivity across all its states as well as internationally. Its transportation system is highly intermodal, with hubs connecting its rich networks of road, rail, ports and airports spread across the country. U.S. cities and rural areas are connected by over 47,000 miles of interstate highway and 140,000 miles of freight railroad, as well as tens of thousands of miles of state and local highways and roads. The U.S. is also very well-connected to the world, across modes of passenger and cargo transport, across its geographies. The U.S. has 10 of the world’s top 20 busiest airports and 7 of the world’s top 20 busiest cargo airports.
Q: What type of Company or Business should I set up?
The type of company, business or business model you should ideally set up would depend on what your specific needs are. The USIIF will be happy to advise you with this decision.
Q: What type of Visa do I need to invest in the U.S.?
The type of Visa required will depend on your specific case. USIIF will be able to help members determine what regulations and aspects of Immigration Law are applicable. We will be happy to forward any queries you may have to the relevant local U.S. Embassy or Consulate, and give you speedy answers to all your queries.
The Department of Homeland Security is responsible for the approval of all immigrant and non-immigrant petitions, the authorization of permission to work in the U.S., the issuance of extensions of stay, and change or adjustment of an applicant's status while the applicant is in the U.S. USIIF will be happy to put you in touch with the concerned authorities, at any stage.
Q: I am a small enterprise and want to explore the possibility of making an investment in the US. Can USIIF help me?
Even if you are only a tiny SME with just a blip of a hope of making an investment in the US, we definitely can and will help you. Membership to the USIIF is not at all expensive. And, when you consider the benefits, it will possibly be the wisest money you have ever spent! Membership will give you access to all the large and small happenings in the world of US Foreign Direct Investments. And, the unique thing about the US is that it does not stipulate any minimum investment amount at all! We will be happy to help you hone-in on an investment opportunity that is right for you – there’s no time-frame or pressure at all, as far as USIIF is concerned.