barack_obama_108.jpgWASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama is America's business pitchman. Facing a sluggish economy, Obama is helping connect foreign and domestic companies and investors with economic development organizations across the country while promoting the United States as a sound business environment.

Obama is speaking Thursday before the SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit, a project of the Commerce Department designed to coordinate efforts to attract foreign investments.

Administration officials say in the past states and cities have had to compete directly with foreign countries.

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker says $160 billion in foreign direct investments flowed into the United States economy last year.

As part of the effort, Commerce and State Department teams will make such recruitment one of their priorities.

Pritzker says the summit has attracted 1,200 CEOs, investors and economic development officials.