Donohue is pressing for a trade deal with Brazil, South America's largest economy and one with growing global influence. But he acknowledged that there is no appetite in the United States to initiate such a step before the November elections.
Obama, in answers to questions submitted by Latin American journalists before leaving for Cartagena, said the U.S. exports three times more to Latin America than to China. He said 60 percent of Latin America's exports to the United States are manufactured goods, whereas 87 percent of Latin America's exports to China were commodities.
"We believe that economic partnerships can't just be about nations extracting another's resources," he said.
The U.S. relationship with Argentina is increasingly contentious. U.S. companies complain that Argentina is erecting sizable barriers to U.S. exports. The Obama administration has bristled at the behavior and some in Washington wonder whether Argentina will remain in the Group of 20 large and emerging world economies.
Those issues could likely come up when Obama meets with Argentina's president, Cristina Fernandez, on the sidelines of the summit.
Summit site: http://www.summit-americas.org/default_en.htm
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.