President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that forging additional new trade deals has to be an important part of U.S. government efforts to spur economic growth and create jobs.
"Part of it is making sure we get in place strong trade deals," Obama said at a meeting of the President's Export Council, which brings together corporate leaders and members of Obama's Cabinet to discuss how to boost U.S. exports.
The White House, after winning approval of trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea in 2011, has been "moving aggressively" with ten other countries on the negotiation of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership pact, Obama said.
That is envisioned as a "high-standard trade regime that we think can advantage U.S. companies' workers and U.S. companies because it sets a bar that is fair and free," Obama said.
He also touted a proposed U.S.-EU free trade pact, which the transatlantic partners hope to start negotiating by June.
Obama said he was "modestly optimistic" those talks would succeed because the 27-nation European Union appears "hungrier for a deal" than in the past and was consequently more willing to deal on tough farm trade issues that so far have been difficult resolve.