WASHINGTON, March 19 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama, who is in Latin America this weekend focusing on trade issues, said Saturday the United States is "on track" to double exports by 2014.
In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president said he was traveling to Brazil, Chile and El Salvador because "Latin America is a part of the world where the economy is growing very quickly. And as these markets grow, so does their demand for goods and services."
Obama said he wants to "make sure these products are made in America. I want to open more markets around the world so that American companies can do more business and hire more of our people."
The president said every $1 billion in goods and services the United States exports "supports more than 5,000 jobs in the United States."
"So, the more we sell overseas, the more jobs we create on our shores," he said. "That's why, last year, I set a goal for this country: to double our exports by 2014. And it's a goal we're on track to meet."
Obama acknowledged the trip is coming at a time of "turmoil and tragedy around the world, from change in the Middle East and North Africa to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan."
"As I said on Friday, we will work with our partners in the region to protect innocent civilians in Libya and hold the Gaddafi regime accountable," he said. "And we will continue to stand with the people of Japan in their greatest hour of need."
However, the president said his administration would not "let up in our efforts to tackle the pressing, ongoing challenges facing our country, including accelerating economic growth."