The Idaho delegation had lined up at least 14 separate meetings with companies and investors from Japan, Australia, Brazil, Mexico and Taiwan, among other countries, said Megan Ronk, director of the Idaho Department of Commerce.
For the third year in a row, Obama gave the keynote speech to the foreign investors on Monday afternoon, urging them to “select U.S.A.” as a place to do business “because nowhere in the world and never in history has there been a better place to grow your business.”
Obama touted his economic record, saying the U.S. has recorded 75 straight months of private sector job growth.
“I’m rooting for you,” the president told the investors. “Make a deal. And make that smart choice to invest in the United States of America. We are open for business.”
SelectUSA has emerged as something of a pet project for Obama. It’s a government-wide program housed in the International Trade Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce. Since it began, administration officials say it has resulted in $19 billion in additional investment in the U.S., creating and keeping thousands of American jobs.
In an interview, Otter, a former congressman who is now a third-term governor, said he made the trek to Washington, D.C., both to promote the state and to build personal contacts with representatives from global firms looking to do business in the U.S.
He said he’s hoping that more of them will come to Idaho to check out what the state can offer.
“It’s all about contacts and building an image,” Otter said. “If they’ll come take a look-see, we can show them a pretty good opportunity.”
Otter posed for pictures with one of the Australian wealthy investors and jokingly issued a directive to the photographer.
“Here, I want you to get one with my hand in his pocket,” the governor said.