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Paulson Tells CNBC: U.S. Needs to Remain Open to Foreign Investment

In an exclusive interview with CNBC's Maria Bartiromo, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the U.S. needs to remain open to foreign investment to preserve its competitive edge.

“For many years, there has been a bipartisan consensus that an open economy is essential to our strength and our economic strength," Paulson said. "Regrettably, we’re seeing signs that this consensus is eroding here and elsewhere in the world.”

Paulson will take part Thursday in a Washington, D.C. summit concerned with preserving America’s competitive edge. The secretary's specific focus will be foreign direct capital investment in the U.S., particularly crucial in the wake of reports that fewer initial public offerings are being launched in the U.S.

Paulson noted that foreign direct investment in the U.S. peaked in 2000 and then declined, failing to keep pace with economic growth. He believes that the “publicity” surrounding the Dubai ports incident caused many investors abroad to question whether America is really friendly to foreign investment.

Paulson says that all foreign investments in the U.S. are carefully vetted and the vast majority have no impact on security whatsoever.

Paulson describes his department’s “long-term project”: working closely with such figures as Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, in engaging countries around the world to open their economies to investment and trade.

More of Bartiromo's interview will air Thursday on CNBC and be available on CNBC.com.

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