Obama: Both U.S., Asia Will Benefit From Trade

President Barack Obama talks with President Nguyen Minh Triet of Vietnam at the Leaders Retreat at the APEC summit in Yokohama, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010. AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

Appealing for broader access to fast-growing markets in Asia, President Barack Obama said the United States is in the Pacific region to stay, and that both sides will benefit from stronger trade relationships.

On a mission to help create jobs at home, Mr. Obama noted that while U.S. exports to the region have increased by more than 60 percent in the last five years, competition has cut into the U.S. share of trade here.

"We want to change that," President Obama declared in a speech Saturday at a regional economic summit.

The president hopes to double U.S. exports within five years and views selling more goods to Asians as one way to help meet that goal while simultaneously creating and sustaining jobs for Americans.

"What happens in Japan or China or Indonesia also has a direct effect on the lives and fortunes of the American people," Mr. Obama said today.

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At the same time, President Obama said healthy competition needn't rupture relationships between and among nations.

"There's no need to view trade, commerce or economic growth as zero-sum games," he said. "If we work together, and act together, strengthening our economic ties can be a win-win for all of our nations."

Mr. Obama was blunt about his reason for touring Asia this week.

"For America, this is a job strategy," he said, before rattling off numbers showing that every $1 billion in exports supports 5,000 jobs at home. In turn, he said the flood of U.S. goods to Asia-Pacific nations will give those consumers, many of whom are enjoying higher standards of living, more options to choose from when they go shopping.

"We are invested in your success because it's connected to our own. We have a stake in your future because our destiny is shared," Mr. Obama said. "It was a Japanese poet who said, 'Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.' So it must be with the billions of people whose lives are linked in the swirling currents of the Pacific."

President Obama's speech to a gathering of business leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum came on his first full day in Japan and followed a divisive Group of 20 Nations economic summit in Seoul, South Korea.

His 10-day trip has not gone as he would have hoped, reports CBS News chief White House correspondent Chip Reid.

After announcing $10 billion in new trade deals with India, President Obama failed to complete a free trade agreement with Seoul. He also failed to win backing from other world leaders for a get-tough policy toward China over on its currency stance.

His trip was also overshadowed by domestic issues back home, when his bipartisan commission to lower the national deficit made an unexpected release of policy suggestions.

President Obama will return home Sunday to a new political climate of the newly-empowered Republicans.

"The White House is very much looking to make a deal; they don't want to have a fight over a tax increase right after they lost the House," Politico's Martin Kady told CBS News. "Beyond that, there's little incentive for Republicans to play ball at all."

But White House officials say they are confident this trip will pay dividends down the road as Asian economies gradually open their markets to U.S. goods, creating jobs for Americans back home.
If "you look at the sweep of this trip from the first day in Mumbai (India) to today in Japan, I think that the United States has dramatically advanced its critical goals and its strategic interest in the region," Tom Donilon, Mr. Obama's national security adviser, told reporters Saturday.

President Obama will attend more APEC meetings on Sunday, the 10th and final day of a four-country journey that has taken him from the Indian cities of Mumbai and New Delhi, to Jakarta, Indonesia, where he lived for several years as a boy, to Seoul and finally Japan. It is his longest trip abroad as president.

Mr. Obama also planned a one-on-one breakfast meeting Sunday with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. One expected topic of discussion is a stalled nuclear arms reduction pact between the countries. Mr. Obama also was stopping at the Great Buddha statue, which he visited as a child, before boarding Air Force One for the long flight to Washington.


More on President Obama's Asia Trip:

Obama Seeks More Market Access from Asia Leaders
Obama Voices Concerns About Mideast Peace Talks
Obama Visits India
Obama Backs India Seat on U.N. Security Council
Pictures: The Obamas in India
Obama's Sales Mission to India
Obama-Mania Grips Indian Media
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