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Obama planned to make the remarks to regional business leaders Saturday at a CEO summit in Cartagena, Colombia, hours before the Summit of the Americas gets under way.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff are also attending the business summit.
Obama says he has committed the U.S. to even “deeper economic partnerships” in the region. He says it is estimated that trade across the hemisphere is only half of what it could be.
The U.S. president planned to mention his announcement Friday of the establishment of a regional small business network to help companies export to new markets, and an initiative to help female entrepreneurs.
President Obama also planned to discuss what he says is an “ambitious new goal” – universal access to electricity by 2022. He says the attainment of that goal would make a “profound difference” in the lives of people and businesses across the region.
The regional presidents are in Cartagena for the Summit of the Americas, which brings together 33 leaders from the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America.
While President Obama remains personally popular throughout the region, he is facing growing discontent from his counterparts over a number of issues, including Washington’s decades-long fight against the illicit drug trade and Cuba’s continued absence from the summit.