Research spending and technology exports were some of the menu items Thursday evening when President Barack Obama sat down for dinner with corporate chieftains from Apple Inc., Facebook Inc. and Google Inc.

At the home of venture capitalist John Doerrjust outside San Francisco, Mr. Obama met with Apple’s Steve Jobs, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Eric Schmidt, among others. The overall aim of the meeting was for Mr. Obama to discuss his competitiveness agenda, and to find new ways the government and private sector can work together to lift the shaky economy.

Things did get specific, however. “The president specifically discussed his proposals to invest in research and development and expand incentives for companies to grow and hire,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney to reporters traveling with the president.

The president’s budget, released this week, included billions of dollars for new R&D spending. Mr. Obama has also secured a measure to allow businesses to fully expense business investing for 2011.

Mr. Obama’s meeting with the technology executives fits into his renewed effort in recent months to work closely with the private sector on ways to lift the economy. Mr. Obama vowed, in a speech earlier this month to business leaders, that he would knock down barriers to growth. He said he needed the private sector’s help to revamp the corporate tax code, expand the economy and make government run more efficiently.

It is unclear how specific discussions got on areas such as taxes. The business community, and technology companies in particular, have raised concerns about Mr. Obama’s proposal to boost taxes on overseas income.

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