Obama administration ramps up efforts to attract foreign investment, create jobs

The Obama administration is ramping up efforts to attract job-creating foreign investment to the United States.

President Obama and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker are among several top administration officials who will detail the aggressive efforts on Thursday at the first-ever SelectUSA Investment Summit.

The sold-out meeting will bring together 1,200 attendees from nearly 60 countries, along with economic development officials from 47 states to discuss the new coordinated effort between Commerce and State departments to focus on selling the United States as the best place in the world to invest and create jobs.

"This is a clear message that America is open for business," Pritzker told reporters in advance of the meeting. 

Commerce and State teams here and abroad will align their efforts in 32 countries, which represent more than 90 percent of foreign direct investment into the United States, where they will develop strategies aimed at specific business investment interests. 

They will handle a broad range of issues, from visa to regulatory questions. 

Pritzker said the effort is aimed at attracting foreign firms that are "looking to the United States for their next big investment."

The coordinated effort among federal agencies — from Commerce up to the White House — is the first of its kind and will provide a central point of contact for a one-stop shopping of sorts to navigate the U.S. market. 

"We're putting everyone under one roof for the first time," Pritzker told reporters. 

SelectUSA will provide support for regional, state and local economic development organizations that are trying to attract investment.

In 2012, foreign direct investment totaled $166 billion.

Besides Obama and Pritzker, Secretary of State John Kerry, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman will also deliver remarks.

National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling said the effort is a broader part of the Obama administration's mission to make the U.S. a "magnet for job creation."

As the rest of the world improves their efforts to attract businesses to their shores, Sperling said it is imperative for the U.S. to sell itself as the best place in the world to set up shop. 

"Our competitors are organizing themselves to compete for job location, and we have to compete better or lose out," he said.

"So the president decided he wants to compete better."

In the past, federal officials have operated on less organized ad hoc basis but now will work together in a more focused singular effort.

"With the entire economic team and the president involved, it sends a strong message that foreign companies are welcome."