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Published March 11, 2010, 01:45 PM

Obama outlines new efforts to boost US exports

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says doubling exports over the next five years will boost the economy by helping U.S. companies sell their goods and services abroad and creating new jobs at home.

By: Douglass K. Daniel, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says doubling exports over the next five years will boost the economy by helping U.S. companies sell their goods and services abroad and creating new jobs at home.

In remarks prepared for delivery Thursday at the annual conference of the Export-Import Bank, Obama said 95 per cent of the world’s customers as well as the world’s fastest-growing markets are outside U.S. borders.

“We need to compete for those customers, because other nations are,” Obama said in the remarks, which the White House released before the president spoke. “If we stand on the sidelines while they go after those customers, we’ll lose out on the chance to create the good jobs our workers need right here in America.”

Obama was announcing a series of steps toward meeting the goal of doubling exports over the next five years, an idea first mentioned in his State of the Union address in January. The strategy includes carving out a mini-Cabinet focused on promoting U.S. exports and seeking new funding to support export promotion programs.

The administration says doubling exports will create 2 million jobs. Whether that surge will translate into more jobs at home is a more complicated question. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that finalizing a pending free-trade agreement with South Korea alone would lead to 200,000 American jobs.

Under Obama’s strategy, a new Export Promotion Cabinet will keep export promotion as a priority for the relevant Cabinet agencies, such as the departments of Commerce, State, and Agriculture. Obama also wants $134 million more to hire hundreds of trade experts to advise potential U.S. exporters, and provide technical assistance to farmers and others interested in exporting specialty crops.

Obama also reestablished the President’s Export Council, a presidential advisory committee on international trade, and named two prominent business leaders to lead it. They are Jim McNerney, president and chief executive of The Boeing Co., and Xerox Co. CEO Ursula Burns.

He also wants to continue work on outstanding trade agreements, including with Panama, South Korea and Colombia.

Obama said the U.S. shouldn’t be satisfied with being the No. 1 exporter of goods and ser-vices in the world.

“When other markets are growing, and other nations are competing, we need to get even better,” he said. “We need to secure our companies a level playing field. We need to guarantee American workers a fair shake. We need to up our game. ”

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