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Obama touts US exports plan again, as voters stew over slow economy

President Obama on Thursday again stressed his commitment to double US exports in five years and, thus, create 2 million jobs. Is a tougher stance toward China part of his plan?

President Barack Obama announces his recommendations to work on free trade agreements and to step up trade promotion at a meeting of his export council, Thursday, Sept. 16, in the East Room of the White House in Washington.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

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With voters unhappy about the state of the economy and his economic management skills, President Obama on Thursday stressed again his commitment to double American exports in five years and, thus, create 2 million jobs.

Boosting trade “is one of my top priorities,” Mr. Obama told members of the President’s Export Council during an appearance in the East Room. The goal of doubling exports is “something that is achievable” if exports rise 14 to 15 percent a year, he said.

The current pace of export growth is far less robust than the president’s goal. Before Mr. Obama spoke Thursday, the Commerce Department reported that the US trade deficit in the second quarter climbed to its highest point since 2008. US exports to other countries rose 3.4 percent from the first three months of the year to $316.1 billion. Imports from other countries rose 6.3 percent in the same period to $485.7 billion.

The president’s goal for export job creation is based on annual exports hitting $3.1 trillion by 2015.

Obama’s appearance before the executives on his Export Council was just one aspect of the administration’s effort to be more visible pushing export growth. The Treasury Department on Wednesday released congressional testimony that Secretary Timothy Geithner was slated to deliver Thursday stiffening his criticism of China’s exchange rate policies. Mr. Geithner called on China to allow “significant, sustained appreciation over time” in its currency and allow the yuan to “fully reflect market forces.”


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