Hours after China announced retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods on Friday, President Donald Trump ordered U.S. companies to “start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA.” The stakes are high: U.S. companies invested a total of $256 billion in China between 1990 and 2017, compared with $140 billion Chinese companies have invested in the United States, according to estimates by the Rhodium Group research institute.
Many consumers no longer make decisions solely based on the product or service they are receiving, but also consider the principles and values of the organizations they are engaging. Companies are now more emboldened than ever to align themselves with social issues, promote partnerships with charities and herald their sustainability practices to differentiate themselves from the competition. While an emphasis on social responsibility is influencing how consumers want to spend their money, it’s also impacting where they invest their money.
In terms of the Midwest, the results of the OZ program have been mixed. In Cleveland, Realogy reports that the city has 14% of its commercial assets in Opportunity Zones, above the national average. Investment share in Opportunity Zones was decreasing until 2018, where it leveled off, leading to a slight increase in the first quarter of this year.
The concentration of wealth is increasing, income gaps are widening, economic growth that doesn't equate to employment growth is seemingly the new norm, ROI in capital and technology usually is better than labor, and future tech can replace much of human physical and mental labor. As a result of these and additional factors, more than 450 futurists and other experts related to future work-technology dynamics from 50 countries shared their views. Jerome Glenn, CEO, The Millennium Project, discusses the three alternative global scenarios.
A common mistake in Washington is thinking about U.S.-China competition through a Cold War mentality that views Beijing as an adversary that we can contain and isolate like the Soviet Union. The United States and China are economically intertwined in a way that America and the Soviet Union never were and that America and Russia are not today. Regardless of presidential tweets saying that "we don't need China" andthatU.S. companies should find alternative markets, decoupling from China in the global economy is simply unrealistic and would be in neither country’s interest.
Underscoring the complexity of the U.S.-China trade relationship, careful observers will notice that there are more than two sides vying for influence at the table as negotiations continue in search of a possible deal. In fact, when it comes to the most important strategic question at the very heart of the dispute--what to do about China’s mercantilist campaign to dominate global markets for key advanced technologies--there are at least three contending positions on the U.S. side alone.
Market watchers are predicting $200 to $300 billion in investment in the nation’s 8,700-plus OZones. And federal rules have made it clear that green economy projects -- such as local power generation, microgrids, EV charging stations and energy storage -- are eligible for OZone investment.
Opportunity Zone neighborhoods like Long Island City, Downtown Brooklyn, and Gowanus are communities where private investment has already poured in, and seems poised to continue doing so even without the extra tax incentive - and as a result, they are expected to attract the majority of any Opportunity Zone investment that does happen. Our city does have neighborhoods that would benefit from the additional investment right now, but these aren’t them.
Opportunity zones have the potential to unlock an entirely new class of investors and bring high-tech, high-return AI companies to lower income communities in order to create jobs in and move capital to areas of poverty. For investors in startups focusing on advanced technology such as AI that might take decades to develop, exit or go public, opportunity zone investment provides an amazing, low-risk opportunity.
Real estate investors who want to maximize the return on investment from participating in the opportunity zone program will reap extra tax breaks if they finalize the transaction before the end of the year, but one expert is still urging they do their due diligence before rushing into the program.