President Obama on Friday tried to sell his record on opening new markets to American business and investment as he stopped in Florida on his way to a regional summit in Cartagena, Colombia.
Speaking at the Port of Tampa, Obama said U.S. exports were on the rise and credited the free trade agreements approved by Congress last year, including one with Colombia. Exports to Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean are up by 46% since 2009, the president said.
“We now export more to the Western Hemisphere than to any other region in the world,” Obama said. “And those exports support nearly 4 million U.S. jobs.”
Before making his remarks, Obama toured the port, observing the massive machinery that lifts shipping containers. At one lift, a worker told Obama that the machine could raise 40-foot or 20-foot containers and that it cost $500,000.
“If the global playing field is level, then America is going to win,” Obama told port workers after the tour. “So while I’m in Colombia talking with other leaders, I’m going to be thinking about you.”