President Barack Obama told Japanese business leaders that the U.S. is “here to stay” in Asia as he neared the end of a 10-day trip across the region.
Speaking to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s CEO Business Summit in Yokohama, Japan, Obama said engagement with Asia is a “jobs strategy,” important to his goal of increasing U.S. exports and spurring economic growth around the world.
“We don’t want to lose the opportunity to sell our goods and services in fast-growing markets. We don’t want to lose the opportunity to create new jobs back home,” he said according to the prepared text of the speech. “When it comes to this growing, sprawling region of the world, the United States is here to stay.”
Obama is in Japan for the APEC leaders meeting on a trip that has taken him to India, Indonesia and South Korea. At each stop he’s highlighted the need to boost exports in Asia’s rapidly growing economies in order to create jobs at home, where the unemployment rate has been 9.5 percent or higher for the last 14 months.
Obama told the hundreds of Japanese chief executives gathered at the conference that he makes “no apologies” for trying to bring jobs to the U.S. through trade, but that economic growth in any country is good for others.
“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.”
Obama has used the trip to reach out to the business community, which has been critical of the administration’s health care law and regulatory policies. In India, Obama addressed a summit of chief executive officers that included Jeffrey Immelt of General Electric Co. and Jim McNerney of Boeing Co. and announced $10 billion worth of commercial deals that the administration estimates will support 50,000 U.S. jobs.
Obama also used his speech to defend an agreement reached yesterday at the Group of 20 summit meeting in Seoul that encourages member nations to reduce their current account balances and allow the market to set the value of their currencies.
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