US should welcome foreign investment for its infrastructure plan: expert

Foreign investment including that from China is of great importance to the economic development of the United States, as President Donald Trump's $1.5 trillion infrastructure construction plan is light on federal funds, according to an expert.

In a recent interview with Sino-US.com, Lindsay Oldenski, associate professor at Georgetown University, said that the United States should hold a welcome attitude toward foreign investment and make policies to remove barriers at a time when the federal government wants to sustain the economic growth.

As the pending infrastructure construction project still lacks details about the sources of capital, some experts argue that the Trump administration needs to narrow the funding gap for the ambitious plan.

Oldenski, who is also a non-resident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said that the lack of money highlighted the importance of foreign investment. But the researcher said she did not know how the investment could be used in promoting the infrastructure construction plan, because President Trump claimed that each federal dollar should be "leveraged" by state and local governments.

Except for the economic considerations, national security should not be used as an excuse to exclude Chinese investment from the infrastructure construction plan, said Oldenski, adding that some items of the infrastructure plan are not related to national security such as the high-speed railway construction, which China is specialized in, and would not impair America's national security. For those investments that might cause damage to the national security, the federal government should keep an eye on them.

President Trump puts emphasis on developing the American manufacturing sector, 20 percent of which is supported by foreign investment. Those foreign investors not only brought capital but also technologies and management methods, according to the expert. In order to help those foreign firms better integrate into America's business environment, the government should design more favorable policies to support them, suggested the expert.

Oldenski is not bullish on the prospect of the Bilateral Investment Treaty, saying that the Trump administration has sent no signal to resume the negotiation with China. The businessman-turned president gives priority to economy, and the treaty is just one of the options that can be used to grow the economy, noted the expert.
 


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