Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson says foreign investment and immigration will be critical to turning around Michigan’s economy.
The former aide to President George W. Bush spoke before the Detroit Economic Club Monday afternoon with Gov. Rick Snyder.
“Make Michigan attractive for investment, period. OK? Make it attractive,” said Paulson.
He says Michigan should especially look to China to help boost the state’s economy. He says many Chinese businesses are looking to expand overseas, and Michigan needs to make it clear they are welcome.
“Demystifying it, telling the story, and making it easier for them to set up businesses and engage in business – and those would be the same things that are necessary to make Michigan more competitive from an overall economic standpoint,” he said.
After the event, Paulson told reporters that the country’s immigration policies are holding back economic growth.
“We desperately need immigration reform. We really do. And this will be key to our economic future, economic growth and development.”
Paulson praised Gov. Snyder for his attempts to attract foreign investment to Michigan. He says Michigan’s agricultural industry and research institutions also position the state well to help China adjust to unprecedented growth.
The former treasury secretary now heads the Paulson Institute, a nonpartisan think tank he founded in Chicago. Paulson played a key role in designing the Wall Street bailout of 2008.