President Obama makes a sales pitch for the U.S.

SelectUSA 2013

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during the SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit to promote the United States as the premier destination for business investment, part of his campaign to help facilitate connections between investors and companies, both foreign and domestic, and U.S. economic development organizations.

President Obama will meet with business executives Tuesday morning with the goal of getting more companies to invest in the United States. 

The Obama administration is the first White House to actively campaign for foreign investments. And its intervention is none too soon.

Last year, foreign investment in the U.S. was roughly $193 billion -- down from its peak of $310 billion in 2008.

Dartmouth’s Matthew Slaughter says the U.S. attracts investments from foreign companies by telling executives that the U.S. is "the most innovative, open, largest economy on the planet.”

But Slaughter says many foreign company leaders respond by saying growth in the U.S. has slowed compared to developing countries like China, not to mention an aging infrastructure, complicated immigration system and high corporate taxes.

In 2011, the White House set up an office to attract foreign investments; work that until then had been left up to cities and states.

Nancy McLernon is president and CEO of the Organization for International Investment, which represents U.S. subsidiaries of foreign companies.

She says it’s still too soon to know whether the White House strategy is working, but it can’t hurt.

“Competition around the world has gotten more intense and fierce," McLernon says, "It was getting harder for Ohio to go compete against Singapore.”

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