A week-long international exhibition entitled "Invest in America's Cities" begins today in Zurich, Switzerland. Sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the affair is expected to attract more than 2,000 European industrialists, businessmen and entrepreneurs. Among the participating cities from the mid-Atlantic region are Washington, New York, Richmond, Norfolk, Hampton Roads, Portsmouth and Philadelphia.

According to conference organizers, the show "represents the first time the nation's cities have teamed up to merchandise their individual investment opportunities." Along with various cities, some states, such as Maryland, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, are represented. A direct mail campaign to over 60,000 businesses and institutions in Europe attracted significant interest and feedback to the show.

"We will be selling America as the largest homogeneous market in the world," said John J. Gunther, executive director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. "This conference offers our cities, large and small, an exciting new market to entice new capital, create new jobs, revitalize neighborhoods, diversify existing industries and accelerate growth and expansion. Now, more than ever, our cities must look beyond the federal government for help in sustaining and expanding their economic bases."

Other pluses for foreign investments in America, Gunther said, include advanced technological marketing and managerial techniques, stable long-term growth, large consumer markets and a stable political system. Heavy representation is expected from European firms considering the United States for chemical, textile, electronics and real estate markets.

Daily seminars will be offered for the foreign investors, with discussions on legal and tax implications, real estate investment, personnel and labor relations, property management and site selection techniques, and financial vehicles open to investors.