Senior White House and Cabinet officials today hosted a delegation of leaders of eight Swiss companies in the Roosevelt Room to discuss opportunities to spur new investments and create jobs for American workers. As part of the meeting, the companies announced their plans to invest about $3 billion into their combined U.S. operations in 2015. These new job-creating investments build on the roughly $140 billion in Swiss foreign direct investment (FDI) stock that makes Switzerland the sixth-largest source of FDI in the United States and a crucial commercial partner.
Many of the executives, who were joined today by senior Swiss government officials, also announced their firms’ plans to expand or launch apprenticeship programs in the United States, reinforcing President Obama’s goal of doubling registered apprenticeships in the U.S. over the next five years. For details on the companies and their specific announcements, please see the Commerce Department’s fact sheet.
Today’s discussion, hosted by Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, National Economic Council Director Jeff Zients, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, and Labor Secretary Tom Perez, was an important opportunity to engage with these companies on the mutual benefits of job-creating FDI while discussing the additional steps we can take together to make the United States an increasingly competitive location for companies from around the world to locate, grow, and hire.
One of the key messages we heard in today’s discussion, and which we hear from our commercial partners around the world, is that the fundamental strengths of the U.S. economy — an educated workforce, large middle class, reliable infrastructure, transparent regulatory system — are the very qualities that make us so attractive to foreign investors looking to grow their businesses and create jobs.
In 2014, the U.S. economy added nearly 3 million jobs, the most since the 1990s. Our economic growth in the last two quarters was the strongest in more than a decade. Our manufacturing sector is growing faster than the economy and adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s. And low energy costs, and our status as the world’s top oil and gas producer, are reinforcing the United States as the top destination for investment.
Among the steps discussed today to further this progress were increasing our innovative capacity, investing in workforce skills that connect Americans to jobs, strengthening our intellectual property protections, and negotiating strong trade agreements that expand markets for U.S.-based operations and American workers.
Thanks to the leadership of U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein Suzi LeVine, today’s investment mission builds on this Administration’s commitment to do everything we can to bring job-creating investment from around the world to the United States. That is why President Obama in 2011 launched SelectUSA, a global team in embassies abroad and agencies at home that has so far helped about 1,000 companies seeking to make investments in the United States.
Building on the success of the 2013 SelectUSA Investment Summit, the National Harbor this March will play host to a second SelectUSA Investment Summit almost double the size of the first. The conference is an opportunity to demonstrate U.S. investment advantages while providing matchmaking between investors and U.S. states and communities. For more information on SelectUSA and the 2015 Investment Summit, please visit the registration site.
Despite the continued progress to strengthen and grow our economy, there is more that we need to do, including beefing up investments in infrastructure, education, and skills — and in the innovative capacity that underpins our ability to compete. The Administration is committed to build on this progress, to make the SelectUSA effort a legacy, and to ensure that the United States continues to be the top location for job-creating investment from around the world.