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Obama Begins Asian Economic Trip

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama waves as they board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, MD as they begin their trip to Asia. The president will visit India, Indonesia, South Korea, and Japan, 5 Nov 2010

U.S. President Barack Obama left Friday for a 10-day trip to Asia, on a mission to increase economic ties with the region's emerging economies.

Mr. Obama's first stop will be India, where he will spend four days visiting the financial center, Mumbai and the capital, New Delhi, accompanied by several U.S. business leaders. The president told reporters at the White House Thursday the region is one of "the fastest growing markets in the world," and his goal is to open up those markets to sell U.S. goods and create jobs.

His stay in India will be the longest time he has spent in a foreign country since taking office.

After India, Mr. Obama will visit Indonesia, where he lived during part of his childhood, then travel to Seoul for the summit of leaders of the world's 20 biggest economies.

The president is expected to raise the issue of China's tight control of its currency, which many lawmakers and business leaders say makes Chinese goods cheaper to sell on the world markets. Mr. Obama is also hoping to announce progress on the long-stalled U.S.-South Korea free trade agreement.

After Seoul, he will visit Japan before returning home.

Mr. Obama is undertaking his Asian trip days after his Democratic Party was trounced in mid-term congressional elections, losing control of the House of Representatives and several seats in the Senate.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.