By Jueseppi B.
President Obama today began a three day trip to Mexico and Costa Rica, where he will meet with leaders to discuss ways the U.S. can deepen our economic and trade relationships across Latin America –- relationships that create jobs and growth here at home, and offer our businesses growing markets where they can sell more American-made goods and services abroad.
Before he left the country, the President spoke in the Rose Garden and announced his intention to nominate two “outstanding individuals” to his Cabinet.
President Obama Makes a Personnel Announcement
Published on May 2, 2013
President Obama announces he is nominating Penny Pritzker to be the next Secretary of Commerce and Mike Froman as the new U.S. Trade Representative.
Penny Pritzker is President Obama’s choice for Secretary of Commerce. The President praised the Chicago businesswoman, who was a member of his Jobs Council. “Penny is one of our country’s most distinguished business leaders,” he said.
She’s got more than 25 years of management experience in industries including real estate, finance, and hospitality. She’s built companies from the ground up. She knows from experience that no government program alone can take the place of a great entrepreneur. She knows that what we can do is to give every business and every worker the best possible chance to succeed by making America a magnet for good jobs.
And Penny understands that just as great companies strengthen the community around them, strong communities and skilled workers also help companies thrive.
President Obama’s pick for U.S. Trade Representative, a Cabinet-level position, is Mike Froman, one of his top national security and economic advisors for several years. The President highlighted the work Froman has done organizing international trade summits. “He’s been a key negotiator alongside Ron Kirk on those trade agreements for South Korea, Colombia, and Panama, which support tens of thousands of American jobs,” said President Obama.
“He has won the respect of our trading partners around the world, the President continued. “He has also won a reputation as being an extraordinarily tough negotiator while doing it. He does not rest until he’s delivered the best possible deal for American businesses and American workers. He’s fought to make sure that countries that break the rules are held accountable.”
And Mike believes, just as I believe and just as Penny believes, that our workers are the most competitive in the world, so they deserve a level playing field. And Mike’s going to continue to fight for that level playing field in his new role, as he helps to move forward trade negotiations with both the Asia-Pacific region and Europe, and will also continue to advise me on a broad range of economic issues.
The President also thanked Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank and outgoing U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk for their service.
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All times are Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).
10:15 AM: The President makes a personnel announcement.
10:45 AM: The President departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews.
11:00 AM: The President departs Joint Base Andrews en route Mexico City, Mexico.
1:00 PM: The Vice President meets with law enforcement officials at the White House to discuss gun safety.
3:15 PM: The President arrives Mexico City, Mexico.
4:05 PM: The President and President Peña Nieto of Mexico hold a bilateral meeting.
5:10 PM: The President and President Peña Nieto of Mexico hold a press conference.
6:35 PM: The President meets and greets with United States Embassy personnel.
8:15 PM: The President and President Peña Nieto of Mexico meet for a working dinner.
President Obama Visits Mexico and Costa Rica
Today, President Obama will make his fourth visit to Mexico and continue on to Costa Rica on what is also his sixth visit to Latin America. On this journey, the President hopes to highlight and reinforce the deep cultural, familial, and economic ties that so many Americans share with Mexico and Central America, and to promote economic growth across the region.
Ahead of these visits, President Obama convened two important consultations at the White House to hear from U.S. businesses and U.S. Latino leaders. The purpose of these meetings was to hear from business working directly in the region, and organizations with a particular interest in Latin America and its diaspora in the United States, about ways to foster economic development and growth for our shared future as a hemisphere.
Last Friday, a group of business leaders, representing a cross-section of companies doing business in Mexico and Latin America, held a lively discussion with the President. The meeting was a chance for the President to hear about emerging trends in the Western Hemisphere and what the United States government can do to foster economic growth in the Americas to help companies create jobs for middle class families on both sides of the border.
Business representatives offered strong support for measures intended to facilitate global and hemispheric trade, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. They highlighted the growing importance of the energy sector throughout the Americas and the need for infrastructure improvements to facilitate cross-border trade. The President made clear that immigration reform continues to be a top legislative priority this year; business leaders agreed on the need to enact commonsense immigration reform as quickly as possible. The meeting also underscored that increased trade throughout the region translates into jobs and growth here in America.
On Monday, the President met with Latino leaders who work both domestically and across borders to enhance social and economic development. The President heard various perspectives on how to strengthen collaboration in the region, further develop our economic relationship, and ideas for how the hemisphere can fit into broader strategic priorities. He emphasized that the long term trends in the hemisphere are clearly moving in the right direction, with growing middle classes, declining poverty and inequality in much of the region, and countries such as Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia taking a more active global role.
The Latino leaders offered support for the Administration’s current engagement with the region and emphasized the opportunity for job creation and economic growth that hemispheric integration could have in our country. Immigration reform was a backdrop for these conversations, just as it will factor into the President’s travels this week.
Over the next three days, the President will be traveling to Mexico City, Mexico and San Jose, Costa Rica. We hope you will follow @whitehouse, @lacasablanca and @nscpress for live updates from the President’s trip or get more information about the trip here.
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