"I cannot repatriate the $47 billion," Chambers told CNBC, speaking from the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
He explained: "The U.S. tax system is broken. We have waited for four years for this almost $50 billion that we have got overseas to come back. We are assuming that is not going to happen. We do not think we are moving with the speed needed."
Cisco, along with Microsoft (MSFT) and Apple (AAPL), has been lobbying for a tax break similar to one instigated by President George Bush in 2004, which allowed U.S. corporations to repatriate profits at a discounted rate.
"This is where tax policy can determine where you grow and where you don't," Chambers said.
He said that Cisco would instead look to make investments in different countries in the coming years, especially in emerging markets and Asia-Pacific.
Chambers added that Cisco was still a "proud" U.S. company.
"I am a proud American company, probably one of the very few high-tech companies that is big and has been around for 25 years, and still has the majority of our employees in the U.S.," he said.
(View More: CNBC's Full Interview With John Chambers )
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