Chinese FDI: Missing in New Mexico

The Rhodium Group is out with its latest look at Chinese foreign direct investment in the U.S. The news was quite good, with Chinese companies investing “a record $45.6 billion in the US economy in 2016. This is triple the amount we recorded for 2015 and a tenfold increase of annual investment just five years ago.”

Unfortunately, no FDI made its way to New Mexico. As the map above shows, since 2000, Chinese investment here, in the form of acquisitions and greenfield construction, has been zilch.

The new bureaucrat hired to head up New Mexico’s “economic development” claims that the Land of Enchantment is “competing with neighboring states today.” We know that’s nonsense, but when it comes to Chinese FDI, it’s laughable. It’s not as if the region isn’t attractive. Texas nabbed investment of $7.1 billion. Oklahoma got $3.7 billion. Colorado ($343 million), Utah ($90 million), and Arizona ($50 million) are “in the game,” too. Energy was a major target of investment, obviously, but information and communications technology, entertainment, and health/biotech were part of the mix as well.

The Foundation has been tracking a national sample of economic-development projects for two years now, and right-to-work states consistently beat their forced-unionism competitors in drawing FDI. For now, Chinese investment is concentrated in the non-RTW Pacific Coast and Northeast. We suspect that will soon change, as Chinese investors discover what their counterparts in Germany, Canada, France, Australia, the UK, Italy, and Japan have known for decades — that states where union bosses don’t rule are good places to do business.