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President Obama Addresses Business Roundtable, Talks About Importance of Exports

President Obama spoke to the Business Roundtable today about the importance of exporting more of our goods overseas and opening new markets. Read the excerpts of his speech below, and check back for video later.

"...So in all of these areas -- in infrastructure, in research, in education, and in government reform -- we're making investments that will lead to new products and services that will help America compete on the world stage. It means increases in productivity and increases in efficiency, and that's where we're going to need to be competitive.

Now, winning that competition also means we need to export more of our goods and services to other nations -- something that supports more jobs here in the United States of America. Unfortunately, the federal government has not done a great job advocating for companies' exports abroad.

That's why, in the State of the Union, I set a goal of doubling our exports over the next five years, an increase that will support 2 million jobs. And to help me meet this goal, Gary Locke recently announced that we're launching a National Export Initiative where the federal government will significantly ramp up its advocacy on behalf of U.S. exporters. We're substantially expanding the trade financing available to exporters, including small and medium-sized companies. And while always keeping our security needs in mind, we're going to reform our export controls to eliminate unnecessary barriers. So some of the sectors where we have a huge competitive advantage in high-tech areas, we're going to be able to send more of those products to markets overseas. And we're going to pursue a more strategic and aggressive effort to open up new markets for our goods.

Now, I know that trade policy has been one of those longstanding divides between business and labor, between Democrats and Republicans. To those who would reflexively support every and any trade deal, I would say that our competitors have to play fair and our agreements have to be enforced. We can't simply cede more jobs or markets to unfair trade practices. At the same time, to those who would reflexively oppose every trade agreement, they need to know that if America sits on the sidelines while other nations sign trade deals, we will lose the chance to create jobs on our shores. In other countries, whether China or Germany or Brazil, they've been able to align the interests of business, workers, and government around trade agreements that open up new markets for them and create new jobs for them. We must do the same. And I'm committed to making that happen.

That's why we launched the Trans-Pacific Partnership to strengthen our trade relations with Asia, the fastest-growing market in the world. That's why we will work to resolve outstanding issues so that we can move forward on trade agreements with key partners like South Korea and Panama and Colombia. And that's why we will try to conclude a Doha trade agreement -- not just any agreement, but one that creates real access to key global markets."