American Companies Earn a Handsome Profit from the United Nations

The United Nations is a boon to American businesses.

New research from the Better World Campaign finds that American companies were awarded $1.74 billion worth of contracts from the United Nations last year. That amounts to about 9% of the total contracts awarded, making American companies the biggest recipients of UN contracts, by far. The next highest was India, with about 4.8% worth of the UN’s $18.6 billion contracts

In all, the last eight years, American companies have received over $9.5 billion in procurement contracts with the UN.

The state that reaps the biggest windfall from the United Nations is New York, where the organization is headquartered. But the research finds that contracts are fairly widely spread — 42 states plus the District of Colombia host companies that hold contracts with the UN.

In all, the report finds that “eighty-four Senators and 239 members of the House of Representatives have companies headquartered in their district or state that are directly benefitting from doing business with the UN.”

This is an important observation because Congress plays an outsized role in the UN’s pursestrings. The US is the largest financial contributor to the UN budget, and ultimately US congress appropriates how much the US will contribute the UN each year.  With economic benefits spread across this many districts, members of congress should be more likely to fully fund America’s dues payments to the UN.

These are the companies with the largest UN Contracts

The individual companies that receive the biggest contracts are some of America’s largest. This includes pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Microsoft, and the IT Management firm Trigyn, among others.

Last week, in Detroit, Ambassador Nikki Haley held a seminar for American companies seeking to do business with the United Nations, in an effort to increase American participation in UN contracting even deeper.

Data like this speaks directly to President Trump’s transactional approach to foreign policy. To be sure, the United States pays more than any other country into the UN system. But American companies overwhelmingly reap the benefits of these investments.