The 2016 CFO Insourcing Survey is based on results from 100 CFOs of U.S. subsidiaries of insourcing companies, which are foreign-headquartered companies with U.S. investment and employment.
US Remains Competitive As Emerging Markets Falter
Overall, CFO confidence levels in 2016 are similar to 2014, but concerns about the future have risen. The United States is the “top location for growth and new investment” in the next five years for 20 percent of CFOs, up from 13 percent in 2014. However, this looks to be due, in part, to weakening elsewhere. While 33 percent of CFOs chose China as the top destination, its level has fallen from 49 percent in 2014. The percentage of CFOs who expect the U.S. business climate to get worse for foreign direct investment (FDI) in the next 12 months has nearly doubled, from 17 percent in 2014 to 30 percent now.
US Scores Highly in Access to Capital, Infrastructure Quality and Skilled Workforce
A majority of CFOs say that the United States is more competitive than other advanced economies in terms of “Access to Capital” (81 percent), “Skilled Workforce” (68 percent) and “Infrastructure Quality” (64 percent).
Insourcing Companies Face Discrimination on Multiple Fronts
A majority of CFOs (54 percent) say that their company has faced discriminatory tax policies. This is also true at state and local levels of government, which have increasingly pursued policies that undermine international norms and provisions of U.S. tax treaties. There is also growing concern about anti-foreign rhetoric in public policy discourse. Critically, these findings antecede Treasury’s recent actions to reclassify business debt as equity, which disproportionately affect insourcing companies and could have a negative impact on U.S. competitiveness.
Decreased Confidence in the US Economy Will Slow New Investment
More than half of CFOs (56 percent) expect to increase investment in the United States within the next 12 months, and 43 percent plan to increase employment. These expectations are lower than those from 2014, when 64 percent of CFOs planned to increase investment and 51 percent planned to increase employment.
Ways the United States Can Attract More Global Investment
Insourcing CFOs say that the top three actions the federal government can undertake to increase foreign direct investment in the United States are:
- Modernize the Tax System
- Improve the Regulatory System
- Finalize Bilateral and Regional Trade Agreements