Obama argues for more trade, exports to spur economic growth

President Obama said Thursday that expanding trade around the world is the best way to boost U.S. exports and create more jobs.

Obama said that while working toward wrapping up trade agreements in Europe and the Asia-Pacific, the United States also needs to look toward other emerging markets, such as Africa. 

"There has been some explosive growth in certain parts of the world where we’re just not doing enough, Africa as being a prime example," he told the Export Council, which was formed in 2010 with top business leaders.

"You’ve got six of the 10 fastest-growing economies in Africa, a young population that is growing rapidly. Some of these economies are doing very, very well, but we’re not penetrating those markets as well as we should," he said.

He said an African Leaders Summit in August should provide a better opportunity to solidify the U.S.-African relationship.

“They’re not interested in aid as much as they are trade, development and partnering with the private sector," Obama said.

He also said that the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership “will make us the center of a free trade hub covering two-thirds of the world economy."

"We’ve got a chance to extend our competitive advantage in the world."

Obama said that exports have driven one-third of the economic growth in the nation's economic recovery and now support more than 11 million U.S. jobs.

Last year, the United States exported $2.3 trillion in goods and services, which was an all-time high.  

"Business executives around the globe say that the United States is the best place to locate, the best place to invest and the best place to hire," Obama said.  

"And that’s the first time that they’ve said that, that we are No. 1 when it comes to their desirable location to invest. This is the first time they’ve said that in over a decade."