WASHINGTON (CN) - Before leaving Thursday for his first trip as president to meet with regional leaders in Asia, Barack Obama said he plans to address the region's role in stimulating and sustaining American economic growth.
"It's a strategy in which Asian and Pacific markets are open to our exports, he said, "and one in which prosperity around the world is no longer as dependent on American consumption and borrowing, but rather more on American innovation and products."
Asia consumes about a quarter of American exports and 1.6 million American jobs are associated with these exports. The region is the fastest growing in the world, with growth expected to be more than sever percent next year.
"In the coming days, I'll also be meeting with leaders abroad to discuss a strategy for growth that is both balanced and broadly shared," he said.
Obama underscored the progress the American economy has made under his presidency, pointing to slowing job loss and a recent upturn in the gross domestic product after a year of a shrinking economy, but acknowledged that job growth have not yet followed suit.
Organizing cooperation in stimulating the global economy is one of Obama's big goals on a long list of agendas.
Obama is also expected to address trade, the war in Afghanistan, climate change, and how to handle Iran and North Korea.
Just this week, a North Korean warship retreated in flames from a naval skirmish with the South Korean Navy, an event that sparked concerns of escalation.