Obama concludes Latin American trade mission
President Obama continued a trip to Latin America with a speech in Santiago, Chile, where he extolled the region's economic and political progress and said the region is increasing in importance to the U.S. economy.
The trip was designed to strengthen economic partnerships with countries in Latin America.
'We export more than three times as much to Latin America as we do to China. Our exports to this region — which are growing faster than our exports to the rest of the world — will soon support more than 2 million U.S. jobs. In other words, when Latin America is more prosperous, the United States is more prosperous,' Obama said, according to a transcript of his speech posted on the White House Web site.
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U.S. trade interest in South America is evident from recent 'open skies' agreements to reduce market restrictions on airlines, the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks and intensified efforts by the administration to finalize trade agreements with Panama and Colombia 'consistent with our values and with our interests,' he said.
House Republicans and others have criticized the administration for not submitting revised Panama and Colombia free trade agreements to Congress for ratification.
'Latin America is a part of the world where the economy is growing very quickly. And as these markets grow, so does their demand for goods and services. The question is, where are those goods and services going to come from? As President, I want to make sure these products are made in America. I want to open more markets around the world so that American companies can do more business and hire more of our people,' Obama said in his weekly address last Saturday.
Obama visited Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Sunday and said democracy and trade are helping Brazil achieve new levels of prosperity. American exports to Brazil support more than a quarter-million jobs and Brazil imports more goods from the United States than any other nation, according to the White House.
Obama wrapped up his trip in El Salvador.
The President should have stopped in Colombia during his trip because it is the strongest U.S. ally in Latin America, has achieved amazing results in suppressing the drug cartels that openly operated within its borders and is eager to expand trade with the United States, said an economic analyst who asked not to be named. ' Eric Kulisch