Obama to business: Bring jobs home

@CNNMoney January 11, 2012: 3:50 PM ET
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President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden hosted a roundtable discussion on 'Insourcing American Jobs' at the White House on Wednesday.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- President Obama is meeting with executives from 14 companies Wednesday to encourage them to bring jobs back to the United States.

The so-called "Insourcing American Jobs" forum at the White House includes leaders from Ford (F, Fortune 500), DuPont (DD, Fortune 500), Intel (INTC, Fortune 500), Otis Elevators and Rolls Royce, among others.

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"I'm calling on those businesses that haven't brought jobs back to take this opportunity to get the American people back to work," Obama said in prepared remarks. "That's how we'll rebuild an economy where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded -- and a nation where those values live on."

The remarks come as the latest Labor Department data point to the manufacturing sector as a bright spot in the recovery, adding 334,000 jobs over the last two years.

Obama wants that trend to continue and, on Wednesday, he pledged to announce new tax proposals in the next few weeks. The White House said the new proposals would reward companies that choose to invest or bring back jobs to the United States, and eliminate tax advantages for companies moving jobs overseas.

Generally speaking, the current U.S. corporate tax rate stands at 35% -- the highest in the industrialized world. But companies don't have to pay that rate on profits made outside of the United States -- so many decide to shelter profits elsewhere.

U.S. companies currently hold more than $1 trillion in profits abroad, a point that has gotten a lot of attention in the last year as both Republicans and Democrats in Congress put forth repatriation tax proposals. They tend to argue that bringing that money home would create more jobs, although that theory has not been proven.

Following the insourcing forum on Wednesday, Obama recognized Ford for committing to bring back about 2,000 jobs to U.S. factories by 2015 and shifting some of its production from Japan, Mexico and China to states such as Michigan, Ohio and Missouri.

He also recognized Master Lock, the Milwaukee-based padlock manufacturer and subsidiary of Fortune Brands Home & Security (FBHS), for bringing 100 jobs back to Wisconsin, after outsourcing them to China.

Made in USA: Overseas jobs come home

To be sure, these companies aren't bringing all their jobs back to America though. Master Lock still operates a large factory in Nogales, Mexico, where it relocated much of its production after the North American Free Trade Agreement was signed in the 1990s.

Plus, rapid economic growth in places other than the United States remains an incentive for businesses to hire abroad. In a recent report by the Corporate Executive Board, nearly two-thirds of companies surveyed said they are ramping up their growth targets in emerging markets.

By 2020, roughly 85% of companies surveyed said they expect the majority of their revenue to come from emerging economies.

Ford, for example, is aggressively trying to grow its presence in China, to build vehicles for the growing middle class in Asia.  To top of page

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