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Expert Voices

With new development finance agency, the U.S. matches China's ante

US President and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation Ray W. Washburne and US Presidential Advisor Ivanka Trump speak
President of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation Ray Washburne and Ivanka Trump during the CEO Summit of the Americas on April 13, 2018, in Lima, Peru. Photo: Manuel Medir via Getty Images

On Oct. 5, President Trump signed the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILD) Act, establishing a new $60 billion development finance agency to invest in less developed countries. The United States International Development Finance Corporation (USIDFC) will replace the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and in doing so will double its funding and enhance its capabilities.

Why it matters: Growing economic competition from China in emerging markets has finally shaken the U.S. out of its complacency toward development finance. With new and more efficient investment capabilities, the USIDFC has the potential to re-establish the U.S. as a global leader in commercial diplomacy.

U.S. budget deficit grew by $113 billion in fiscal year 2018

Trump and Mnuchin
Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. budget deficit grew by $113 billion in fiscal year 2018, driven by tax cuts and increased federal spending on defense, Medicaid, Social Security and disaster relief, reports CNBC.

The big picture: The total deficit for FY 2018 came in at $779 billion, or 3.9% of U.S. GDP, and was the largest of any year since 2012. In a statement, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said that "America's booming economy will create increased government revenues," but warned that Congress should be wary of the "dire consequences" of irresponsible spending.