The British government is trying to drum up business, a day after figures showed the country's economy is in a deeper recession than previously thought.
On the eve of the start of the Olympic Games, the government has gathered around 4,000 business leaders and international policymakers in London as it attempts to clinch over £1 billion worth of deals and projects this summer.
Prime Minister David Cameron was expected to urge the gathering Thursday to "invest in Britain, partner with Britain, not just to invest in this country, but because this is the place, the hub, from which your company can grow and expand."
Figures released Wednesday showed Britain's economy contracted by a quarterly rate of 0.7 per cent in the second quarter of the year, the third straight quarterly decline.
Cameron also pushed back Thursday, a day ahead of the opening ceremony for the games, on remarks by visiting American presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Cameron leapt to the defense of Olympic organisers after Romney questioned the country's ability to stage a trouble-free games.
Romney, who managed the Salt Lake City Games in 2002, caused a stir by telling NBC news, "It's hard to know just how well it will turn out." He described concerns over security staffing as "disconcerting".
Cameron responded by saying Britain is hosting the Olympics "in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course, it's easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere."
His comment apparently referred to Utah, the site of the games Romney managed. The Times newspaper in London called Cameron's words an "Olympic putdown to Romney."
The Republican candidate tried to smooth over his comments later, saying, "It is impossible for absolutely no mistakes to occur."