(Adds Obama comments, Lufthansa CEO)
WASHINGTON May 20 President Barack Obama
gathered executives from several major international companies
on Tuesday, including Ford Motor Co and Deutshe Lufthansa
AG, to discuss a White House initiative to encourage
investment in the United States.
The White House says the program, SelectUSA, has assisted in
winning more than $18 billion in business investments in 17
states and territories.
Obama, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and other economic
advisers joined the executives in a discussion about their U.S.
"We have the most dynamic and creative and innovative
economy in the world, but we don't always do what it takes to go
after business around the world and make sure that they know the
benefits of investing in the largest market on Earth," Obama
said at the beginning of the meeting, addressing reporters.
"And we want to be more systematic about it. We want to
make sure that the federal government is working in sync with
state and local governments when it comes to locating businesses
here in the United States."
Companies represented at the meeting included Swedish
telecom supplier Ericsson and Zurich NA, a subsidiary
of Switzerland's Zurich Insurance.
"These businesses have recognized the many advantages of
locating, growing and hiring in the United States," said Jeff
Zients, director of the White House National Economic Council,
in a conference call with reporters on Monday.
Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr said low energy
prices and infrastructure were good reasons for companies like
his to invest in the country.
"I think the United States has discovered or re-discovered
that industrial jobs are creating value, that you need to
attract those investments into the country," he told Reuters in
an interview after the meeting.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Tom Brown)