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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Weekly Address: We Should Make Sure the Future Is Written by Us

In this week’s address, the President underscored the importance of continuing to grow our economy and support good-paying jobs for our workers by opening up new markets for American goods and services.

While America’s businesses, ranchers, and farmers are already exporting goods at record levels, there’s more room for growth with 95 percent of the world’s customers living outside our borders. In order to pursue new trade agreements, the President called on Congress to pass trade promotion authority so that the U.S. -- not China -- can play a leading role in negotiating 21st century trade deals that protect our workers, support good wages, and help grow the middle class.



Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
February 21, 2015

Hi, everybody.  At a moment when our businesses are creating jobs at the fastest pace since the 1990s, we’ve still got to do everything we can to help workers and businesses succeed in the new economy – one that’s competitive, connected, and changing every day.

One thing we know for certain about businesses in the 21st century is that they’ll need to sell more goods and services Made in America to the rest of the world. 

Now, our businesses already sell goods and services in other countries at record levels.  Our farmers, our factory workers, and our small businesses are exporting more than ever before – and exporters tend to pay their workers higher wages. 

More small businesses are using the internet to grow their business by reaching new customers they couldn’t reach before, too.  As an example, nine in ten American small businesses that use eBay as a platform to sell their products are exporters – with customers in more than 30 different countries on average.

But there’s a lot of room for growth.  After all, 95% of the world’s potential customers live outside our borders.  Many of them live in the Asia-Pacific – the world’s fastest-growing region.  And as we speak, China is trying to write the rules for trade in the 21st century. 

That would put our workers and our businesses at a massive disadvantage.  We can’t let that happen.  We should write those rules. 

That’s why Congress should act on something called “trade promotion authority.” This is bipartisan legislation that would protect American workers, and promote American businesses, with strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe that aren’t just free, but are fair.  It would level the playing field for American workers.  It would hold all countries to the same high labor and environmental standards to which we hold ourselves.

Now, I’m the first to admit that past trade deals haven’t always lived up to the hype.  And that’s why we’ve successfully gone after countries that break the rules at our workers’ expense.  But that doesn’t mean we should close ourselves off from new opportunities, and sit on the sidelines while other countries write our future for us.  We should seize those opportunities.  We should make sure the future is written by us.  And if we do, we won’t just keep creating good new jobs for decades to come – we’ll make sure that this century is another all-American century.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.