Total foreign investment in a variety of facility construction projects based in rural parts of the U.S. has passed the $56 million point.
That figure is part of a new report published by the Commerce Department called Foreign Investment in the Rural United States, noting that the three countries with the largest such investments are Japan, Germany, and Canada.
Combined, in fact, those three countries make up nearly 50 percent of investments in rural America.
Such investments, from private companies, have been primarily in food production, automotive equipment, and textile facilities, as well as alternative and renewable energy enterprises.
The report also indicates that such investment has been strongest in the West, including parts of northwest New Mexico, southwest Colorado, and southeastern Arizona, with investment dollars going for land acquisition and the building of manufacturing facilities and infrastructure.
Among the largest foreign company investment projects are the $340 million Hondo auto components plant in Anna, Ohio, a town of 1,500 people; and the $90 million Latvian-based Valmiera Glass fiberglass facility in Dublin, Georgia, a city of 16,000 residents.
The Italian-based Enel Green Power has invested $160 million in a windfarm in the Kansas counties of Marion and Dickinson, which combined have a population of 31,000.
The report notes that the average non-rural facility investment project is around $64 million, creating just under 90 jobs: “In rural areas where the population is smaller than that of an urban area, the impact of the jobs created numbers is likely to be even more strongly felt.”
The report, released by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross during a USA Investment Summit in Washington, added that while foreign investment in rural parts of the U.S. is currently a small subset of the total foreign dollars in the country, it nevertheless “plays an important role in our economy, especially at the local level.”
By Garry Boulard
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