POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 10, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 09:42 a.m. HST, Nov 10, 2011
President Barack Obama launches a busy weekend in Honolulu with a series of bilateral talks aimed at strengthening U.S. ties to the Asia-Pacific region and stimulating domestic job growth through economic partnerships in the region.
Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are scheduled to land in Honolulu on Friday night in advance of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit being held this weekend with his counterparts from 20 Pacific Rim nations.
Saturday's schedule begins with Obama hosting a meeting of nine Pacific Rim countries, including the United States, seeking to forge a trade agreement that the administration views as a vehicle for "achieving economic integration across the Asia-Pacific region and advancing U.S. interests with some of the fastest-growing economies in the world," Ben Rhodes, a White House deputy national security adviser, said at a media briefing Wednesday.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership would help meet Obama's pledge to double U.S. exports by 2015 from 2009 levels, and is the centerpiece of the administration's trade policy after Obama won congressional agreement in October for his revised versions of deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama that were negotiated under President George W. Bush.
Obama then heads to the APEC CEO Business Summit, where he will address business leaders from the region and engage in discussion with, among others, Jim Mc-Nerney, chief executive officer of Boeing Corp., Rhodes said.
Following the summit, Obama has planned separate meetings with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda of Japan, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao. It will be Obama's first formal meeting with the Chinese president since his state visit earlier this year.
Among the issues to be discussed will be completing the steps needed for Russia to enter the World Trade Organization, China's currency valuation, regional security issues and U.S. efforts to "sustain global growth through a rebalancing of global demand," Rhodes said.
His Saturday concludes with a formal state dinner and cultural program hosted by the president and first lady at the Hale Koa Hotel in Waikiki to be attended by APEC leaders and their spouses.
Sunday is headlined by the APEC heads of state meeting at the J.W. Marriott Ihilani at Ko Olina.
Obama will make opening comments before the morning session that will focus on job creation, Rhodes said. At 11:30 a.m., the leaders will have a dialogue with the APEC Business Advisory Council, followed by a working lunch at 12:45 p.m. and then a "family photo" of the APEC leaders. Obama wraps up the summit with a news conference in the evening.
The North American Leaders Summit, featuring Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Felipe Calderon of Mexico, is set for Sunday evening, with a focus on how the three nations can work together within the context of the APEC region on job growth and job creation to remain competitive, Rhodes said.
Monday, Obama is expected to hold a campaign fundraiser at the new Disney Aulani Resort & Spa at Ko Olina, before departing Tuesday for Australia and Asia for additional meetings.
"It's an opportunity for him to engage supporters in Hawaii, which is obviously a place where he has a lot of backing and a lot of roots," Rhodes said of the fundraiser.
Michelle Obama also will maintain an official schedule of events while on Oahu. The first lady is using the opportunity to raise awareness of her "Let's Move!" and "Joining Forces" campaigns.
She is holding a farm-to-table agricultural education event Saturday at MA‘O Organic Farms in Waianae, followed by a luncheon Sunday with APEC leaders' spouses at Kualoa Ranch, a grass-fed cattle operation that doubles as an ag-tourism venue. Produce from MA‘O Organic Farms will be used for the luncheon, and Michelle Obama has invited chef Ed Kenney of Town restaurant in Honolulu to join her at both events, according to a White House blog.
Bloomberg News contributed to this report.