Obama's sales pitch: We are open for business

Washington, Nov 1 (IANS) Declaring that "We are open for business", President Barack Obama announced what the White House described as the first-ever comprehensive, all hands on deck effort to bring jobs and investment to

The US.

"There are a lot of wonderful countries out there. But this is a place where you can do business, create great products, deliver great services, make money, and do good at the same time," he said at a SelectUSA Investment Summit here Thursday.

Calling for a renewed effort to entice job-creating foreign businesses to open shop in the US through aggressive expansion and enhancement of SelectUSA, Obama pledged help from the government, US ambassadors and the president's office

Asking attending entrepreneurs to "Select the USA" he said: "When you do . You'll find a government, and a President who is committed to helping you create more good jobs for the middle class, and helping you succeed well into the 21st century."

Obama announced he would expand and enhance the SelectUSA programme, which was launched in 2011 to coordinate state and local incentive programmes to attract overseas companies.

He joked that he often tells company executives that when he leaves the While House he should be given a gold watch from various firms for his salesmanship. But he pledged he would ramp up his own efforts to attract more job-creating companies to the United States.

The effort to sell the country as the place to do business would start "at the highest levels, including me," Obama said. "We are the land of opportunity. That's not a myth. It's a proven fact."

Attended by 1,200 federal and state officials and some of the world's top CEOs from nearly 60 countries, the summit is focused on the advantages of investing in America and the importance of foreign direct investment as a source of job creation and economic growth in the US.

In a separate statement, White House said the administration would start an "all hands on deck effort" to secure jobs and investment from around the world, starting with an "aggressive expansion and enhancement of SelectUSA."

"For the first time, domestic and overseas teams at [the Departments of] Commerce and State will make recruiting business investment one of their core priorities, alongside their traditional focus on export promotion and commercial advocacy," the White House said.

A report prepared by the Department of Commerce and the President's Council of Economic Advisers noted the US has been the world's largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) since 2006.

In 2012, net US assets of foreign affiliates totalled $3.9 trillion. The US consistently ranks as one of the top destinations in the world for foreign direct investment (FDI), with inflows totalling $1.5 trillion in FDI just since 2006. For 2012, FDI inflows totalled $166 billion.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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