With Japan trying to recover from the devastating earthquake and tsunami, turmoil raging in Libya and Bahrain, and a continuing budget battle at home, President Obama is headed to… Brazil.
In an op-ed for USA Today, Obama says the trip to Latin America is a way to stay focused on our “top priority” of “creating and sustaining new jobs and new opportunities for our people.”
Obama points out that with nearly 600 million people, and an economy that grew by 6 percent last year, Latin America will become an even more important trading partner in the future. In fact, he says, the region's economy is expected to grow by a third.
“The impressive growth that we've seen in Latin America in recent years is good for the people of the hemisphere, and it's good for us,” he writes. “Thanks in part to our trade agreements across the region, we now export three times as much to Latin America as we do to China, and our exports to the region — which are growing faster than our exports to the rest of the world — will soon support more than 2 million jobs here in the United States.”
The president points to Brazil as an example of a country that has become more dependent on U.S. exports. In 1990, Brazil was the 16th-largest market for our exports, and last year it was the eighth-largest.
“Our neighbors in the Americas are bound to us by shared history, values, and interests,” he writes. “What I will convey this week is that we are partners in progress. Strengthening these partnerships will advance the common prosperity and common security of all our people, creating new jobs and new growth across the hemisphere, and helping our economy remain an engine of strength and opportunity for all our people.”