The United States remains the No. 1 destination for foreign direct investment, with close to $228.5 billion received in 2010, up 49 percent over the previous year, the White House Council of Economic Advisers said Monday.

President Barack Obama's administration is committed to stimulating investment and opening the U.S. market to foreign capital, Council chair Austan Goolsbee said in a conference call with reporters.

One of Washington's priorities is to smooth the way for any company wishing to invest in the United States, Goolsbee said.

After an abrupt decline as a result of the economic crisis in 2009 when $153 billion entered the country, in 2010 the amount of FDI received by the United States grew by 49 percent, and continues to top the global list with China, India and Brazil still runners-up.

Nonetheless, the figure does not approach the $319.7 billion received in 2008.

"This remains the most competitive and most desirable place for investment in the world and that investment has had a great impact on the economy," Goolsbee said, calling the United States a safe harbor in an increasingly uncertain world.

He also said that incoming investment is three time greater that the amount going to Britain and France and between five to 10 times more than emerging countries receive.

Companies based in other countries with operations in the United States provide jobs for 5.7 million people and invest more than $40 billion in research and development, 14 percent of the total private sector, Obama said Monday in a statement accompanying the Council's report.

The president noted the productivity of U.S. employees and the country's "unique culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable colleges and universities, and a business environment marked by transparency, protection of intellectual property, and the rule of law."

He added, however, that "the United States faces increasing competition for the jobs and industries of the future. Taking steps to ensure that we remain the destination of choice for investors around the world will help us win that competition and bring prosperity to our people."