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Wisconsin courts foreign investment at SelectUSA

May 25, 2023
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The Wisconsin delegation on the show floor at SelectUSA

WEDC and a coalition of partners pitched Wisconsin as an ideal venue for foreign direct investment (FDI) at the SelecUSA Investment Summit in Maryland in early May. The largest investment summit in SelectUSA history, this year’s event attracted 4,900 attendees spanning 83 international markets.

“This year’s record-setting SelectUSA Investment Summit has shown why the United States has remained the top destination for global investment for over a decade, and why the incredible investments we’re making under President Biden’s leadership—including through the CHIPS Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law—will help keep us at the top for the next decade and beyond,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.

In addition to a number of WEDC staff, including Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes, Wisconsin was represented by Jessica Martin Eckerly of Forward BIOLABS; Rebecca Gries from Milwaukee 7; Barbara Koldos from The New North; Stefan Peikert, Wisconsin’s European trade representative; Mark Rhoda-Reis from the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection; and Ashwini Rao and Coleman Peiffer of Alliant Energy.

Secretary Hughes explained the importance of showing up strong at SelectUSA. “This event attracts global investors who are looking to establish a foothold or expand their operations in the U.S.,” she said. “We’re competing for attention against 55 states and territories to present Wisconsin’s clear advantages.” More than 600 economic development professionals staffed booths at the trade show-style portion of the summit.

In addition to Wisconsin’s exhibit on the show floor, WEDC hosted a dedicated panel discussion to promote Wisconsin’s bourgeoning biohealth industry. Attended by more than 50 global biohealth investors and moderated by Secretary Hughes, the panel featured an introductory message from Dale Tasharski, deputy director general of the U.S and Foreign Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Tasharski’s welcome message was followed by a wide-ranging discussion featuring three of Wisconsin’s biohealth industry leaders: Andrew Tantillo, director of MilliporeSigma, Rebecca Selzer, senior vice president of FUJIFILM Cellular Dynamics, and Eckerly, of Forward BIOLABS.

With the annual investment summit as its keystone event, the U.S. government’s SelectUSA works year-round to present the U.S. as the ideal venue for FDI. Housed within the U.S Department of Commerce, the SelectUSA organization coordinates related federal government agencies to serve as a single point of contact for foreign investors. SelectUSA also helps investors find the information they need to make decisions, connect to the right people at the local level, navigate the federal regulatory system, and find solutions to issues related to the federal government.

“The SelectUSA Investment Summit is the biggest, most concentrated opportunity we have annually to promote investment in Wisconsin,” said Katy Sinnott, WEDC vice president of global trade and investment. “In addition to participating in a variety of events and networking with foreign business leaders and trade representatives, our exhibit hosted dozens of meetings with investors. Following our experience at many past SelectUSA events, we know that many of those conversations will result in new investment in Wisconsin.”

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