About 250 jobs are being created with the opening of a factory supplying car seats to motor giant Nissan.
Tacle Seating UK Ltd is a joint venture between the US-based Lear Corporation and Japanese company Tachi-S.
The £15m plant at Houghton, near Sunderland, will make 144,000 car seats a year for the nearby Nissan car plant.
Sunderland City Council said it hoped to attract further US investment following the signing of a friendship agreement with Washington DC last week.
Sunderland City Council has spent 18 months negotiating the deal to bring the new factory to Wearside.
Gideon Jewel , a member of the Tacle board, said: "This is a very proud day for all of us involved with the project.
"We have high hopes for our investment, and look forward to a long and successful relationship with our customer Nissan and the region."
Sunderland Council Leader, Bob Symonds added: "This is yet another major US investment we have helped secure for Sunderland, demonstrating the importance of the city's economic ties with America.
"American companies already employ 6,000 people in the city and we hope the agreement we signed with Washington DC last week will pave the way for many more jobs over the coming years.
"The opening of the Tacle factory is testament to the importance of the city's links with Japan, which have continued to thrive since the opening of the Nissan plant."
Nissan's operations in Sunderland began in 1984, with the first vehicle coming off the production line in 1986.
The plant currently produces the Note, Almeria, Primera and Micra models.