The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) kicked off its annual Summit with a visit from U.S. Commerce Department Secretary Carlos Gutierrez. During his morning keynote address to the nation’s leading legal reform experts, Secretary Gutierrez released a Commerce Department report on The U.S. Litigation Environment and Foreign Direct Investment, outlining the impact of America’s lawsuit climate on foreign direct investment.
Noting the importance of global commerce, the Secretary remarked, “Day by day, our interconnectedness with the world becomes more apparent. And global trade and investment continue to drive economic growth.” However, he cautioned that, “While the U.S. is recognized as having one of the world’s best legal systems, our litigation environment is seen by many foreigners as a source of increased cost and uncertainty.”
The Department of Commerce study compiled the results of a number of surveys that demonstrated that as a percentage of GDP, U.S. tort costs are significantly higher than in other industrialized nations.
America’s expensive litigation environment creates concern among those who may wish to invest in the U.S. market, which directly impacts the health of the nation’s economy. “Foreign investment is risky enough without the burden of rampant litigation,” he told the event participants. “When the United States loses out to foreign investment on account of an investor’s fear of an overreaching litigation environment, it directly translates into fewer jobs and less economic opportunities for Americans.”