[Excerpt] Foreign direct investment in the United States declined sharply after 2000, when a record $300 billion was invested in U.S. businesses and real estate. (Note: The United States defines foreign direct investment as the ownership or control, directly or indirectly, by one foreign person [individual, branch, partnership, association, government, etc.] of 10% or more of the voting securities of an incorporated U.S. business enterprise or an equivalent interest in an unincorporated U.S. business enterprise. 15 CFR §806.15 [a].) In 2010, according to U.S. Department of Commerce data, foreigners invested $236 billion in U.S. businesses and real estate. Foreign direct investments are highly sought after by many state and local governments that are struggling to create additional jobs in their localities. While some in Congress encourage such investment to offset the perceived negative economic effects of U.S. firms investing abroad, others are concerned about foreign acquisitions of U.S. firms that are considered essential to U.S. national and economic security.