U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson sat down with Maria Bartiromo for an exclusive interview ahead of a major summit on competitiveness in Washington D.C. Thursday.
Paulson's focus: letting the world know that the U.S. is open to foreign investment.
In a wide-ranging interview (full transcript), Paulson also discussed the recent weakness of the U.S. dollar, Paulson's attempts to get China to be more receptive to U.S. exports, the continuing controversy over Sarbanes-Oxley and immigration reform.
The secretary's focus on foreign direct capital investment in the U.S. is particularly crucial in the wake of reports that fewer initial public offerings are being launched in the U.S.
“For many years, there has been a bipartisan consensus that an open economy is essential to our strength and our economic strength," Paulson told Bartiromo. "Regrettably, we’re seeing signs that this consensus is eroding here and elsewhere in the world.”
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.
Here's Bartiromo's complete interview in three parts.