Obama, business execs look to boost investment

President Obama and several top administration officials will hold an economic summit with business leaders on Tuesday to discuss ramping up job-creating investment in the United States.

Obama, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and National Economic Council Director Jeff Zients will join the leaders of 10 companies from around the world at the White House to explore ways to make it easier for businesses to move their operations here.

“We have a big opportunity to create more jobs and faster economic growth as more and more companies from around the world are choosing to bring job-creating investment into the U.S.," Zients told reporters during a conference call.

“Taken together, these companies are investing billions of dollars that will help grow our economy and support thousands of new U.S. jobs.”

The 10 companies, which range in size and type of business, are: Ericsson, Ford, Hankook Tire, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, K’NEX, Lufthansa, Novozymes, Umicore, Richelieu and Zurich NA.

Zients highlighted several reports showing that the U.S. is leading the way on the investment front with more businesses acknowledging their attraction to the economic landscape.

Last year, a Boston Consulting Group survey of U.S. manufacturers with production abroad found that the majority (54 percent) are looking at returning to the United States from China, up from 37 percent in 2012.

Another survey showed that executives see the U.S. as the preferred location among advanced economies, according to the Organization for International Investment and PricewaterhouseCoopers report.

“So it’s up to us to keep our foot on the accelerator here,” Zients said.

Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Jason Furman said business investment has been responsible for 20 percent of the nation’s economic growth since the recovery began in June 2009, and is a top reason why the U.S. had led the global recovery.

Furman said that the U.S. is benefiting from the quantity of investment as well as its high quality, which is having an outsized effect on jobs and wage growth.

The nation's economy has added 650,000 manufacturing jobs, reflecting the growing foreign investment as well as the decision of more U.S. companies to stay put, he said.

On Tuesday, the president also will announce that the second SelectUSA Summit will be held next spring in Washington.

The White House is aiming to double the size of that meeting to more than 2,500 people from around the world. In October, 1,300 attended the first meeting.

SelectUSA has help attract more than $18 billion in business investments and since October has assisted nearly 500 businesses, encouraging them to invest in the U.S. and helping them to navigate the federal government.

The president launched SelectUSA in 2011.

As part of Obama's weeklong effort to highlight business investment, he is planning to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame on Thursday in Cooperstown, N.Y., turning the focus to tourism as a job-creating initiative.

The U.S. Travel Association said earlier this month that travel employment once again outperformed the rest of the economy in jobs growth in April.

The travel industry has worked closely with the Obama administration to, among other things, improve visa wait times for nations with the highest level of interest in traveling here.

Pending legislation in Congress would take additional steps to streamline the arrival process and add more countries to the visa waiver program, making it easier for more tourists to travel to the U.S.