Doing Business in the USA
An Introductory Guide to Doing Business in the United States
Provided by courtesy of:
Thompson Hine LLP
312 Walnut Street
14th Floor Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-4089
Tel: 1 513.352.6700
WHY EUROPEAN COMPANIES INVEST IN THE UNITED STATES
The United States is the world's largest economy with a GDP of over $15 trillion and a population and consumer market of more than 310 million people. The U.S. is a thriving market with a stable economic, political, and legal structure that offers a wealth of opportunities for foreign companies and investors.
The U.S. has significant natural resources, a healthy labor market, and solid industries that help support more than 310 million people with a median household income of $48,000, which is among the highest in the world's major developed countries. In short, the continued demand for products and services appears great.
USA Taxation and CASE
C.A.S.E (the Council of American States in Europe) realize that taxation is one of the key areas that interest a European company when looking at expansion to the USA. That is why each member state works with their own network of Certified Public Accountants (CPA's) who have both the language skills and expertise to advise you on how to structure your subsidiary. By working through C.A.S.E you can be sure that the CPAs we recommend understand the needs of European companies and specialize in assisting them with tax planning in the most efficient way in the USA.
Direct investments in the United States can be made without the requirement of a visa. If, however, you wish to manage your U.S. company or if qualified personnel need to be transferred from the parent company to the subsidiary, visas and often work permits become an important item to be considered.
The granting of visas is a federal issue and is administered exclusively by the U.S. government. Individual states do not have any jurisdiction in this domain. Members of C.A.S.E. may be able to assist marginally, but the decision to allow a foreigner to enter the U.S. for work, business travel or for leisure is entirely within the authority and responsibility of U.S. Federal agencies.
Non-U.S. personnel that will be sent to work in a U.S. subsidiary of a foreign-based corporation should plan the visa application in a timely fashion as it may take longer than anticipated to obtain travel – work – and "immigration" permission. Please keep in mind that a visa is just a permit to travel to the United States! It is the "immigration officer" at the border control who finally decides whether you may or may not enter the country, based on the completed and provided documentation.
Finding qualified personnel is one of the most important factors when selecting the ideal location for a subsidiary in the United States. C.A.S.E. economic development experts will strongly recommend that you research this subject well and take professional advice from a labor attorney and/or a HR consultant. This will allow you to understand and appreciate the differences to your home countries employment and labor culture.
As to recommendations for legal assistance, the states where you have a preference in setting up an operation can help you with referrals.
With regard to labor costs, C.A.S.E. members will give you detailed salary data matching your requirements in recommended regions and communities.
The legal system in the United States can appear overwhelming at first glance principally because each state has its own unique set of laws, regulations, and administrative procedures. A licensed attorney can help you effectively navigate the system and is an essential part of any plan to establish a presence in the U.S.
Finding an attorney with experience in helping international companies establish businesses in United States is ideal, and most firms who have an economic development practice can also provide assistance with immigration, tax, permitting, organization structure, incorporation, and a host of other important legal issues. Most state departments of commerce can offer you a list of firms and attorneys with whom they have worked in the past. However, because the attorney you choose will be an integral part of your US-based team, it is important to sit down with him/ her to go over your business plan before making a final decision regarding who will handle your legal work.