An important component of the Department of State’s economic diplomacy, the annual Investment Climate Statements provide country and economy-specific information and assessments on investment-related laws and other important factors for doing business abroad. Prepared primarily by our embassies and consulates overseas, the Statements are designed to provide detailed information on strengths and weaknesses, and recent trends, in each economy’s environment for foreign investment. This information, spanning more than 170 foreign markets, can assist U.S. companies to make informed decisions regarding investment in foreign markets.
The Investment Climate Statements include examples of countries and economies expanding openness to foreign investment and investor protections, as well as barriers that may exist. Topics covered for each country and economy include: openness to investment; legal and regulatory systems; dispute resolution; intellectual property rights; transparency; performance requirements; the role of state-owned enterprises; responsible business conduct; and corruption, among others.
These reports aim to support U.S. companies in finding new and effective ways of enhancing U.S. exports, job creation, the well-being of American workers, and of the U.S. economy as a whole.
As examples of recent developments, the reports highlight recent efforts by some governments to improve their domestic business climates, in particular through the use of digital economy tools to ease tax, business registration, and permitting procedures, in turn facilitating the process of launching a new business. In addition, the reports draw attention to areas where the letter of the law differs in implementation and from the conditions on the ground, and where governments impede either directly or indirectly, the ability of foreign firms to do business in their country. Other barriers identified in the 2017 reports include foreign equity limits, corruption, restrictions on the free flow of capital, low levels of digital development, restrictions on cross border data flows, and a lack of adequate protection of intellectual property rights.
By highlighting these conditions, and engaging with host governments and members of the private sector both here and abroad, the Economic Bureau’s Investment Climate Statements will continue to be a useful tool as we seek to address the challenges that an evolving global economy brings.