Officials, Leaders Show Guam is Open for Business at SelectUSA Investment Summit

WASHINGTON, D.C. — For ten years, the U.S. Department of Commerce has hosted the SelectUSA Investment Summit. The 2024 Investment Summit recently wrapped up just outside the nation’s capital. 

Guam officials and economic development organizations attended this year with the goal of bringing more investors and companies to the island. 

“I believe that among the territories, Guam is really a crown jewel,” said Melanie Mendiola, CEO and Administrator at the Guam Economic Development Authority (GEDA)

At the 2024 SelectUSA Investment Summit, Mendiola and her team at GEDA worked to boost Guam’s role in a post-pandemic global economy. 

“Pre-COVID, Guam was very active in undertaking trade missions in the region. Specifically, Taiwan, Korea, Japan and the Philippines. Of course, COVID kind of put a stop to that because of travel restrictions,” said Mendiola. 

She says it’s time to remind the world how great Guam really is. 

“We have the most prosperous industries in tourism and defense as it stands. But of course, we’re looking towards economic diversification, that’s something we’ve been really trying to spread word about at events like this,” said Mendiola. 

According to SelectUSA, the Investment Summit is the highest-profile event in the United States to facilitate business investment by connecting thousands of investors, companies and economic development organizations to make deals happen. 

The summit gives Mendiola and her team the opportunity to highlight all the benefits of doing business in Guam.  

In addition to having access to the American tax system and legal code, Mendiola says businesses can also take advantage of Guam’s location. 

“Guam is the closest soil to Asia, within less than five hours of a flight to major cities such as Seoul, Tokyo, Manila,” said Mendiola. 

It can be especially beneficial for investors or companies in Asia looking to tap into the U.S. market without worrying about the time difference. 

“You can stay in the same time zone; they don’t have to stay up at night to have conference calls with their teams. We’re basically an hour or two difference from Tokyo, so it’s easy to come and check on your investments,” said Mendiola. 

The Department of Commerce works with U.S. embassies across the globe to bring companies interested in the U.S. Market to the annual event. 

“It’s been very productive. We’ve been networking and meeting with various industries,” said Governor Lou Leon Guerrero (D- Guam). 

This is Gov. Leon-Guerrero’s second time at the Investment Summit. She says it’s a great opportunity to let other countries know that Guam is open for business. 

“We take every opportunity we can to teach investors what Guam is all about,” said Gov. Leon Guerrero, adding that one of her main goals is encouraging more businesses and investors to plant their roots in Guam’s economy. 

“One of the things that I would like to do is make things a little bit more investor friendly- not that we’re not investor friendly- but help with the bureaucracy and the policies so that it’s more efficient and that people can set up themselves quickly and feel like their investment is going to be for the long-haul,” said Gov. Leon Guerrero.