On December 5, 2017 a delegation from the European Union visited Smith Anderson to receive practitioner perspectives on Foreign Direct Investment in the United States. Partners Jeff Truitt, Jason Brege and Joe Dickinson were the Smith Anderson representatives who met with notable European professionals who are involved with investment and trade policy. The visit was coordinated by the U.S. Department of State’s International Visit Leadership Program (IVLP) and included the Economic Trade Affairs Manager for the European Commission, Germany’s Trade Attaché to the European Union, and the French Deputy Head of Investment and Rules in International Trade.
Jeff Truitt, co-leader of Smith Anderson’s International Law Practice, provided an overview of typical issues arising in the representation of foreign companies investing in the United States, an overview of Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) screening procedures for national security related investments, and state level incentive programs, including Job Development Incentive Grants and the OneNC Fund. Jason Brege discussed the importance of intellectual property protections in attracting foreign investment. Joe Dickinson discussed the data security considerations relevant to a company seeking to expand to the United States and how U.S. law regulations differ from their European counterparts, including the General Data Protection Act.
Leila Bekri, the group’s coordinator, thanked Smith Anderson for its “collegial leadership and instructive approach”, and stated that their group “left RDU…with a greater understanding of what makes our area so unique--where innovations, regulations, and quality of life form a sound business environment.”
During the European Union’s ten-day visit, stops included Washington, D.C., New York and Raleigh, with Smith Anderson being the only law firm visited on their trip to Raleigh. Prior to meeting with Smith Anderson, the group visited IBM and the Governor’s Office. The delegation met the following day with Credit Suisse and ABB to receive additional perspectives from industry leaders.
According to the delegation, the European Union is considering the establishment of a process or structure to screen certain foreign investments in the European Union. Jeff Truitt explained, “Since the record of CFIUS deliberations is not available to the public, it is difficult to predict with certainty what transactions will trigger a CFIUS investigation. The European Union delegation was particularly interested in developing a better understanding of how political inputs impact foreign investment screening in the United States.”