The tax reform bill advocated by President Donald Trump and passed by Congress in late December is encouraging overseas companies to increase their investments in the United States.
Trump traveled to the 48th annual World Economic Forum at Davos held January 23 through January 29, becoming the first U.S. president to speak at the meeting in nearly 20 years.
Addressing the forum on January 26, Trump announced, “America is open for business. … There has never been a better time to hire, to build, to invest, and to grow in the United States.”
Trump made special note of the fact the United States is opening up its energy markets.
“We are lifting self-imposed restrictions on energy production to provide affordable power to our citizens and businesses and to promote energy security for our friends all around the world,” Trump said.
Investing in America
Many overseas corporations, including energy companies, embraced Trump’s message, according to reports from the event.
French oil company Total, the fourth-largest oil company in the world, told Trump it would expand its investments in the United States in the coming year, including at a natural gas export plant in Louisiana.
Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne told Trump “I’m happy” with the United States as a place to invest.
“We invest around $15 billion each year, and at least $1 billion as an average in the U.S. … and even we will do more with your tax reform,” said Pouyanne to Trump during a televised press event before the opening-night dinner at the forum.
Also at that event, Joe Kaeser, CEO of electronics giant Siemens, told Trump his company will expand its operations in the United States as a result of the recent tax cuts.
“As a matter of fact, we’ve been investing quite a lot into the [United States],” Kaeser said. “And since you have been successful with tax reform, we decided to develop next-generation gas turbines in the United States.
“So, congratulations on your tax reform,” said Kaeser.
Among Siemens’ investments, the company is undertaking a joint project with U.S. company Duke Energy to install advanced gas-fired turbines in Duke’s fleet of power plants, which is currently dominated by coal-fired operations. Duke plans to use at least one of Siemens’ advanced turbines at its Lincoln County Combustion Turbine Station in North Carolina.
‘Particularly Welcome News’
James Taylor, president of the Spark of Freedom Foundation and a senior fellow with The Heartland Institute, which publishes Environment & Climate News, says Siemens’ investment will contribute to a trend lowering energy prices.
“Siemens’ decision to build more cutting-edge natural gas turbines for U.S. power plants is particularly welcome news,” said Taylor. “The ongoing shift to natural gas power is responsible for American electricity prices being lower now, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than they were a decade ago.”
Paul Driessen, a senior policy advisor for the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow and a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute, says the tax cuts will continue to spur beneficial economic activity and investment.
“We are open for business for both homegrown and foreign investors, ready to unleash the nation’s pent-up entrepreneurial, innovative investment spirit and abilities,” Driessen said.
‘The Left Should Be Cheering’
Taylor says environmental activists should applaud the tax cuts and natural-gas-fired power plants because they will reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
“The environmental left is fond of criticizing natural gas power and tax cuts,” Taylor said. “But the growth in natural gas power is the single greatest factor in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions being lower now than they were at the beginning of the century.
“Moreover, tax cuts are spurring the investments of Siemens and others in this carbon dioxide-reducing power source, so the left should be cheering,” said Taylor.
Driessen says the Trump administration is moving beyond concerns about climate change and shifting the focus to exploring and exporting U.S. fossil fuels for the good of the country and the world.
“We are no longer obsessed with climate change,” Driessen said. “Instead, the United States and most state governments are now focused on changing the tax and regulatory climate to spur investment and create jobs.
“They agree with the Energy Information Administration the United States and world will still be 75 to 80 percent reliant on fossil fuels 30 years from now, and recognize America has the world’s biggest treasure chest of oil, natural gas, and coal for domestic use and export.”
Savannah Edgens ([email protected]) writes from Gainesville, Florida.