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Press Release



Wednesday, October 29, 2008


New Report Finds Further Reform of U.S. Legal System May Boost Investment in United States

WASHINGTON—U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez today released a report on the U.S. litigation environment and trends in foreign direct investment (FDI) flows into America during the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 9th Annual Legal Reform Summit. The report, The U.S. Litigation Environment and Foreign Direct Investment: Supporting U.S. Competitiveness by Reducing Legal Costs and Uncertainty, aims to inform policymakers of ways to enhance U.S. global competitiveness by reducing the legal costs and uncertainty that both domestic and foreign investors face in the United States.

“In the wake of economic challenges, it is important that America remains open and does not retreat into economic isolationism,” Gutierrez said. “Open markets and free trade make our country the number one destination for global capital, which drives innovation, exports and jobs here at home. Today’s report highlights the important role our legal system plays in attracting capital to the United States and underscores the important work we must do to eliminate unnecessary hurdles to increased investment.”

The report notes that high litigation costs impact America’s ability to compete and recommends sustained efforts to bring these costs in line with those of other nations. It also highlights the pressing need for additional economic research on the impact of a litigious society on a country’s ability to attract FDI.

The report emphasizes the high quality of the U.S. legal system and the competitiveness of America’s open investment policy, which is based on the principle that foreign investors should not be treated differently from domestic investors.

The U.S. economy benefited from $238 billion in FDI in 2007. Last year, foreign firms employed more than 5.3 million workers in the United States. While the U.S. has long been recognized as among the world’s top international investment destinations, the report raises concerns that foreign investors may be negatively influenced by the comparatively high legal cost of doing business and the unfamiliar nature of liability in the United States.

To view the full report, visit: