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Obama: New Free-Trade Deals Will Create More Jobs

FILE - President Barack Obama speaks in Washington at the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, Feb. 18, 2015.

U.S. President Barack Obama has promoted the value of free- trade deals to the U.S. public, saying they will make American businesses more successful and competitive in a 21st century economy.

In his weekly address Saturday, Obama said past trade deals have not always lived up to the promise of "leveling the playing field" for American workers and holding all countries to the high labor and environmental standards the U.S. abides by.

But he said that does not mean the U.S. should close itself off from new opportunities and remain idle while other countries determine its economic fate.

The president said the U.S. should "seize" those opportunities, saying they will create "good new jobs for decades to come."

Obama urged the U.S. Congress to act on "trade promotion authority." He said that is bipartisan legislation that will protect American workers and promote American businesses with strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe that are free and fair.