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Latino Daily News

Friday October 19, 2012

Trade with Latin America a Priority for Obama If Reelected

Trade with Latin America a Priority for Obama If Reelected

Photo: Trade with Latin America

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President Barack Obama will continue to push for strengthening trade and public security in Latin America if he is reelected on Nov. 6, the top U.S. envoy to the region said Thursday.

“On the question of the president and what comes next in a second term, let me say that I think there are a number of things the president himself has said he considers sort of unfinished, that he’d like to move ahead with,” Roberta Jacobson, the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, told reporters.

“And one of those that is not, by definition in some respects, a foreign policy issue, but most certainly does affect our relationships with the hemisphere ... is comprehensive immigration reform,” she said.

Immigration reform, a 2008 campaign promise Obama has been unable to fulfill in his first term, “is a critical thing that the president would like to get done, and its impact on our relationships in the hemisphere would be extremely positive and extremely important,” Jacobson said.

The assistant secretary said that the president also plans to continue pushing the Trans-Pacific Partnership “and the movement of an exciting and new trade agenda with countries in the hemisphere.”

She emphasized that the United States, Chile, Peru, Mexico and Canada make up a “a very robust Western Hemisphere presence already in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which we view, really, as the next generation trade agreement and trade engagement.”

The TPP is also comprised of Australia, Brunei, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam.

Jacobson also said that security is another area in which Obama will focus his efforts in a possible second term, always adhering to the concept of “shared responsibility” because, in his judgment, although progress has been made much remains to be done in the region.

“(T)here is so much more that needs to be done in Central America,” she said. “And the level of violence overall, other crimes, et cetera, is still unacceptably high, and we’ve got a real challenge to continue working - working smarter, working better, trying to bring to fruition some of those programs.”