Obama Links US Economic Future to Asia

Posted November 14th, 2011 at 4:55 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama has tied America’s economic future to that of Asia, stressing that the United States is, and always will be, a Pacific nation.

Concluding a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders in Hawaii Sunday, Mr. Obama focused on his efforts to reduce his nation’s stubborn unemployment rate by doubling exports. He said the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region is key to that goal.

Mr. Obama said that during their talks in Hawaii, the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Conference leaders agreed on steps to increase trade and encourage innovation, including simplified customs and tariff rules.

He said the leaders have also agreed on ways to encourage clean energy technologies and phase out subsidies that encourage the use of fossil fuels blamed by scientists for climate change.

The American president also announced that Japan, Canada and Mexico have asked to join in negotiations to establish a region-wide free trade zone to be known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP.

Mr. Obama and eight other APEC leaders said Saturday that they had agreed on a framework for the partnership, which would eliminate all tariffs and many other barriers to trade among their countries.

Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam already are involved in the talks. Their leaders expressed confidence Saturday that the accord will create jobs, improve living standards and reduce poverty.

China is critical of the TPP, calling it a form of trade protectionism.