Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Paul S. Dempsey

First Page



The United States of America may well be the most attractive area for investment in the entire world. Foreign investment, although failing to play a dominant role in the American economy, has nevertheless enjoyed a substantial and significant growth in recent years. This contemporary acceleration may be attributed to a number of factors, including, for example: (a) America's enormous pool of skilled and well educated labor; (b) the narrowing of the gap between the cost of United States and foreign labor; (c) the abundance of domestic energy and other raw materials; and (d) the relative docility of the United States rate of inflation. But by far the most significant economic incentive is the overwhelming attraction of the American consumer market. It is the largest, most complex and most competitive market in the world; it is an integrated, coordinated market which is unified by a common language and a common legal accounting system. As Hans Schudel, president of a German-owned United States corporation, emphasized, [T]he U.S. market is the most attractive in the world. In terms of how liberally you can conduct your business. In terms of political stability and safety. In terms of return on your investment. In any terms you can name. Indeed, the United States has long had a history of political stability and a devoted respect for economic free enterprise. The first portion of this discussion shall endeavor to analyze the economic impact of foreign direct investment in the United States and the national policy of this Government with respect to international investment.