Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton hosted a meeting of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness to discuss the critical importance of further strengthening foreign direct investment in the United States at the Department of State on Friday, October 7, 2011. Secretary Clinton was joined by Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank, Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs Robert Hormats, GE Chairman Jeff Immelt, CEO of Kodak Antonio Perez, UBS Investment Bank President Robert Wolf, as well as business leaders and stakeholders.
Overseas investment in the United States creates and supports millions of good paying jobs, contributes to economic growth, boosts productivity, and support American communities. In June, President Obama signed an executive order creating SelectUSA -- the first-ever government-wide initiative to attract and retain U.S. business investment. Addressing foreign direct investment during today's meeting, Secretary Clinton said:
"I am delighted to welcome all of you here today and particularly to thank you for participating in the President's Jobs Council work. I know that the Department of Commerce and other of our domestic agencies are fully engaged and focused, but I also know from the preliminary work that the Jobs Council has already done and the conversations that I've had with some of you, that we understand that growth at home depends on focus over our economic engagements with the rest of the world.
"The three trade agreements that the President just sent to the Congress is a clear sign of our commitment to lead on economic issues, and I urge Congress to quickly pass them. There may have been some who wondered why would the Jobs Council meet at the State Department, and there are a number of answers to that. Billions of dollars in trade and investment cross our borders every single day, 95 percent of the world's consumers live outside of the United States, so I think you'd find little argument that we have a significant but untapped potential for job creation and economic growth that comes with attracting foreign investment to the United States to put Americans to work.
"But to capitalize on that potential we have to have frank and open discussions among ourselves, and particularly with those of you who operate globally who make strategic investments every single day. We need to show not only that we are open for business, but to use every tool in our toolbox to attract it."