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PolitiFact: U.S., not China, is world's No. 1 place to invest, survey says

The statement

"For the first time in over a decade, business leaders around the world have declared that China is no longer the world's No. 1 place to invest; America is."

Barack Obama, Jan. 28 in the State of the Union address

The ruling

A White House spokesman said Obama's comment referred to the 2013 A.T. Kearney Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index, a survey of corporate executives from 302 companies in 28 countries that measured where companies are looking to make global investments.

The top highlight: The United States took the No. 1 spot for the first time since 2001 and passed China.

This index is not a measure of actual dollars being brought in, but rather the confidence global companies have investing in certain nations in the future.

The index's outlook is based on business leaders' attitudes toward political, economic and regulatory changes and their potential effects on foreign investments. Corporate, regional and local business managers responding to the survey said China's rising labor costs and focus on shifting to a consumer economy took some of the shine off the economic powerhouse, although 73 percent of the respondents said they would maintain holdings in the country.

Meanwhile, partisan brinksmanship in the U.S. government made investors wary, but they were optimistic thanks to a favorable dollar, a slow but steady recovery and increasing U.S. manufacturing productivity.

A comparable study, however, showed different results. The Milken Institute's Global Opportunity Index ranked the United States 22nd among 98 countries. That study tracked nations' abilities to attract foreign direct investment by measuring factors across "economic fundamentals, regulatory barriers, ease of doing business, regulatory quality, and the rule of law."

Our ruling

Obama is accurate by citing one particular study, and that study did ask business leaders what they thought about investing in the United States. But other rankings don't make the United States seem like such a powerhouse. We rate Obama's claim Mostly True.

Edited for print. Read the full version at PolitiFact.com.

PolitiFact: U.S., not China, is world's No. 1 place to invest, survey says 01/30/14 [Last modified: Friday, January 31, 2014 6:13pm]
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