Atlanta has been selected for a program aimed at honing the story it tells to investors from around the world. 

As a new part of the Global Cities Initiative led by Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase, Atlanta will have the chance to continue working on its pitch to foreigners in a coordinated way, the outcome being a strategic plan for attracting foreign direct investment. 

The project will take largely the same collaborative approach driven by the pursuit of Atlanta’s Metro Export Plan, which when finished will provide the metro area with a roadmap for boosting a critical sector of the regional economy.

That plan, formulated with research by Brookings and participation from a wide range of private- and public-sector leaders across the region, is expected to enter the implementation phase this year. 

For the FDI program, the city was chosen alongside five other American cities: Des Moines, Iowa; Upstate S.C. representing the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson CSA; Los Angeles; Milwaukee; and Syracuse, N.Y. 

All were selected after an application process. Atlanta was chosen because it already has aspects of its strategy aligned. The city “was selected for its readiness and commitment to strategically pursue foreign direct investment such as greenfield expansions, mergers and acquisitions, and other types of foreign investment including EB-5, private equity, joint ventures and sovereign wealth funds,” according to a news release. 

“For this next phase, we selected metro areas that are committed to attracting and leveraging foreign direct investment as part of a comprehensive global trade and investment strategy,” Brad McDearman, Brookings fellow and director of global special projects, said in the release. 

The city has shown considerable care in crafting its foreign-investment strategy already. Atlanta was named in the top 20 global cities for its FDI strategy in a 2014 report by fDi magazine that also tacitly put Atlanta at No. 1 in the U.S. 

Mayor Kasim Reed recently attended a summit with Chinese investors in New York, and staff members of Invest Atlanta and the city’s Office of International Affairs traveled to Washington last month for the SelectUSA summit. According to Brookings, Atlanta also is the No. 7 metro in the nation for jobs supported by foreign-owned companies: 135,000. In one recent coup, city just won the relocation of the Mercedes-Benz U.S. headquarters from New Jersey

Whether there is an explicit link between exports and FDI is unclear, but most local leaders agree that one feeds the other. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, though speaking about the state as a whole, recently commended the state’s exporters for being ambassadors for its favorable business climate around the world. 

Similarly, the FDI plan will build on the collaborative nature of the Metro Export Plan. Some of the same organizations will be participating, including the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the City of Atlanta – Office of the Mayor, Invest Atlanta, Georgia Department of Economic Development, U.S. Commercial Service, JPMorgan Chase, Georgia Power and Partnership Gwinnett.

Pedro Cherry, vice president for community and economic development at Georgia Power Inc., will chair the FDI committee. 

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...