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Foreign firms invested more than $1.5 billion in Tennessee last year, the fourth time in five years foreign investment reached or exceeded that mark, according to the latest “Global Commerce” report from MTSU’s Business and Economic Research Center.

“Tennessee has been one of the most successful states in attracting foreign investment in recent years, and this trend continued in 2018,” noted report author Steven Livingston, BERC associate director and a professor of political science and international relations at Middle Tennessee State University.

With this investment, foreign-owned firms created just over 3,000 new jobs, the report noted. To read the full report, click here.

The largest single investment was Volkswagen’s initiation of a new SUV line at its Chattanooga assembly plant. Japan, however, continued to be the source of the lion’s share of investment coming in from abroad, Livingston reported.

Five Japanese companies invested over $600 million in this state last year.

Other report highlights:

• The total announced investment was smaller than that of 2017. However, the 2017 amount was the highest in a decade.

• A stronger dollar and, “for all practical purposes, the end of Chinese investment” were two significant forces behind the $600 million decline year over year.

• It appears that Tennessee outperformed most of the rest of the country in attracting business investment from overseas.


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