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US Looking to Foreign Investors for Jobs

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during the first-ever State Department-hosted Global Business Conference, Feb. 21, 2012.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during the first-ever State Department-hosted Global Business Conference, Feb. 21, 2012.

The Obama administration is trying to attract more foreign investors to boost the U.S. economy. Washington is encouraging U.S. firms to get out and compete for a larger share of the international market.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the reason behind this push for greater foreign investment is clear: Americans need jobs.

She says free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama have helped put the United States on track to double U.S. exports over five years as Washington moves to keep pace with emerging economies.

"Our power in the 21st century depends not just on the size of our military but also on what we grow, how well we innovate, what we make, and how effectively we sell.  Rising powers like China, India, and Brazil understand this as well, and we cannot sit on the sidelines while they put economics at the center of their foreign policies,” Clinton said.

Secretary Clinton spoke at a global business conference that joined U.S. business support groups from more than 100 countries with private sector leaders and government officials from the departments of State, Commerce, Treasury, and Energy.

She says “jobs diplomacy” means bringing more foreign investors to the U.S., selling more domestic goods abroad, and ensuring that companies compete fairly across borders.

Part of leveling that playing field is fighting corruption, forced technology transfers, the piracy of intellectual property, and preferential treatment for state-owned firms to ensure that the global economic system is transparent and fair.

She says the United States will not stand by when its competitors do not play by the rules.

"This administration has already brought trade cases against China at nearly twice the rate of our predecessors.  And now a special new Trade Enforcement Unit is being established to go after unfair trading practices.  Last Friday, the president announced that when other nations provide unfair financing for their exports, we will offer matching support to competing U.S. firms,” Clinton said.

For all the changes she says the Obama administration is making to better help U.S. businesses compete abroad, Clinton says it is up to the private sector to take advantage.

"Foreign leaders often say to me, “Where are the American businesses?  How come they are not here competing for this construction contract or that mining deal?  What are they waiting for?”  As I have described today, this administration is doing everything we can to help American companies, large and small, compete and succeed.  But ultimately, we know it is up to you.  We can not help you if you are not hungry enough to get out there and compete for the business that is going to be available,” Clinton said.

The global business conference continues Wednesday with regional sessions targeting specific opportunities for private sector investors in individual markets.

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