CARTAGENA - US President Barack Obama stressed on Saturday the "great promise" for business growth in the Americas, seeking to play up the economic heft of the region he has paid little attention to in his first three years in office.
In remarks prepared for a meeting of corporate chief executives in Cartagena, Colombia, where he is attending the 33-nation Summit of the Americas, Obama described US-Latin American ties as "one of the world's most dynamic trade relationships."
"With nearly a billion citizens - nearly a billion consumers - among us, there's so much more we can do together," according to excerpts of his speech released by the White House.
"For the Americas, this is a moment of great promise. And I believe if we seize the opportunities before us, we'll continue to be each other's economic partners of choice," he was set to tell the gathering of CEOs on Saturday morning, which precedes the formal start of the regional leaders' summit.
Obama, who is running for re-election in November, is under pressure in Colombia to show he is committed to engaging with Latin America and addressing regional issues like drug trafficking and violence.