ABC News’ Karen Travers reports:
On his last stop of his 10-day Asian tour, President Obama said that that America’s security and prosperity is “inextricably linked” to that of Asia and increasing U.S. exports will create American jobs.
“In today’s interconnected world, what happens in Japan or China or Indonesia also has a direct effect on the lives and fortunes of the American people,” he said at the APEC CEO summit in Yokahama Japan.
The president said his goal of doubling U.S. exports in the next five years is directly related to job creation in America.
“With every $1 billion we sell in exports, five thousand jobs are supported at home,” he said. “And jobs supported by exports pay up to 18% higher than the national average.”
Mr. Obama once again warned that nations with large trade surpluses cannot depend on exports to US consumers, noting that the recent economic crisis taught a harsh lesson on the limits of that strategy.
“Going forward, countries with large surpluses must shift away from an unhealthy dependence on exports and take steps to boost domestic demand,” he said. “No nation should assume that their path to prosperity is simply paved with exports to America.”
The president reiterated that trade and growth do not have to be seen as “zero sum games” and healthy competition can spur collaborate economic growth.
“There’s no need to view trade, commerce, or economic growth as zero sum games, where one country always has to prosper at the expense of another,” he said. “If we work together, and act together, strengthening our economic ties can be a win-win for all of our nations.”
Despite the disappointments of the trip – no agreement on the free trade deal with South Korea and no tangible progress on the issue of China’s devalued currency – Mr. Obama highlighted progress toward his administration’s export agenda.
He cited the trade agreement with India that will total nearly $10 billion in US exports and support more than 50,000 jobs and consensus among the G20 leaders to focus on sustained economic growth and repairing trade imbalances.
In a phrase that perhaps could be referring to what awaits him back home in Washington, President Obama spoke of the enduring America spirit in the context of global cooperation.
“It’s the idea that when even when circumstances seem bleak and challenges seem daunting, it’s possible to overcome – to persevere and adapt and ultimately succeed,” he said.