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Obama boosts trade with Latin America

TAMPA, Fla., April 13 (UPI) -- U.S. President Obama Friday unveiled an initiative to boost trade with Latin America to help build the economy "from the bottom up and from the middle out."

In a trip to Tampa, Fla., en route to the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, Obama highlighted the "interconnectedness of the U.S. economic and commercial relationship with Latin America."

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"One of the new things that we're doing is launching something called the Small Business Network of the Americas. Obviously, a lot of the exports that leave from America to other places are big business and that's great -- we want our big corporations successful, selling products all around the world because we've got a lot of small businesses that are suppliers to those big business. But we also want our small and medium-sized businesses to have access to these markets," Obama said.

"That's how we're going to make this recovery felt by all people. It's how we're going to make sure that we build not just from the top down, but from the bottom up and from the middle out."

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Obama picked Tampa for the announcement because 40 percent of exports from the Port of Tampa go to Latin American countries, the White House said.

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Obama pledged to work to help reduce the gap between developed and developing economies in the hemisphere and promote prosperity for all.

The initiative will help promote American-made goods and services in the hemisphere through trade advocacy and export promotion efforts; increase access to credit, especially for small and medium-sized businesses; remove barriers to the sale of U.S. goods and services abroad; enforce trade rules; and pursue policies at the global level to promote strong, sustainable and balanced growth, the White House said.

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Obama said the United States is on track to double exports by 2014 compared with 2008. He said exports already have increased 46 percent.

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