President Barack Obama says the United States is on pace to meet his goal of doubling its exports within five years.

The president has expanded an advisory committee on stimulating business abroad, and says his administration's efforts to boost the exports of U.S. goods and business around the world are off to a solid start.

"American exports grew almost 17 percent over the first four months of this year, compared to the same period last year," said Obama.  "Part of this, of course, is due to the global recovery.  But we are also moving forward on improving conditions for America's exporters."

The president told business leaders gathered at the White House Wednesday the global marketplace requires American businesses to continue to be more competitive.

"Ninety-five percent of the world's customers and fastest-growing markets are beyond our borders," said the president.  "So if we want to find new growth streams, if we want to find new markets and new opportunity, we have got to compete for those new customers, because other nations are competing for those new customers."

Mr. Obama named 18 business leaders to his council on business exports, which advises him on promoting U.S. goods and jobs.  The council includes the leaders of large companies such as Ford Motor, Xerox and Walt Disney.

The president said one of his main trade priorities is to promote U.S. businesses and workers worldwide.  He said so far this year, the government has coordinated 18 trade missions to 24 countries.  He said the Export-Import Bank has more than doubled its loans to American exporters since last year, with many of those loans going to smaller businesses.

Mr. Obama said his administration is pushing hard to open new markets and remove trade barriers for American businesses.  He also promised to do everything within his power to enforce trade agreements.   

"The United States offers some of the world's lowest barriers to trade," said Obama.  "And when we give other countries the privilege of that free and fair access, we expect it in return."

The president listed some of his administration's accomplishments in the trade area, including agreements to sell poultry to Russia and pork to China, and a World Trade Organization rejection of European subsidies to the aircraft maker Airbus.

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