Obama Calls for Streamlined US Export Financing

Posted February 17th, 2012 at 4:20 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama says he is ordering the country's export credit agency to boost the financing of American products in a new bid to cut the country's chronic foreign trade deficit.

President Obama spoke Friday in a Boeing airport hangar in Washington alongside the aircraft manufacturer's new Dreamliner jet. He said the country's Export-Import Bank is launching a new program to assist small businesses in the United States to get financing to make it easier for them to sell their products overseas.

In addition, the president said he has instructed the bank to “give American companies a fair shot” by matching the export financing provided by other countries that subsidize their exporters. He did not say how much extra assistance would be provided.

The U.S. trade deficit — the difference between the value of products the country imports and those it sells abroad — averages more than $40 billion a month.

“We can't go backwards, we've got to go forward. We can't go back to an economy that was weakened by outsourcing, and bad debt and phony financial profits. I want us to make stuff; I want us to sell stuff.”

But Mr. Obama called American workers “the most productive on Earth,” and said that if they “can compete on a level playing field,” then “America will always win.”

American manufacturers moved thousands of jobs overseas over the past two decades as they sought to cut their labor costs by using foreign workers. But Mr. Obama said “the tide is beginning to turn our way” and that manufacturers are adding new jobs to the U.S. economy.

Mr. Obama, a Democrat, is facing a tough re-election campaign where his role in overseeing the world's largest economy has emerged as the focal point. Republican presidential contenders seeking their party nomination to oppose him in the November election have sharply attacked his handling of the economy and say they could boost job creation faster than he has.

Mr. Obama said the U.S. economy is “getting stronger.” He said Boeing, the world's second-biggest aircraft manufacturer after Europe's Airbus company, is a prime example of American industrial strength.

He said that with a 50-percent increase in aircraft orders, Boeing's “biggest challenge” is how to produce planes fast enough.