* Obama warns of double-dip recession, loss of confidence
* Delicate balance to expand economy and reduce debt
* Obama eyes export growth to fuel job creation
* Tax provisions could encourage businesses to hire sooner
(Adds quotes, NBC interview, background)
By Caren Bohan
BEIJING, Nov 18 President Barack Obama gave his
sternest warning yet about the need to contain rising U.S.
deficits, saying on Wednesday that if government debt were to
pile up too much, it could lead to a double-dip recession.
With the U.S. unemployment rate at 10.2 percent, Obama told
Fox News his administration faces a delicate balance of trying
to boost the economy and spur job creation while putting the
economy on a path toward long-term deficit reduction.
His administration was considering ways to accelerate
economic growth, with tax measures among the options to give
companies incentives to hire, Obama said in the interview with
Fox conducted in Beijing during his nine-day trip to Asia.
"It is important though to recognize if we keep on adding
to the debt, even in the midst of this recovery, that at some
point, people could lose confidence in the U.S. economy in a
way that could actually lead to a double-dip recession," he
Fox News, which released a transcript of the interview,
showed that comment by Obama on Wednesday morning and said the
full discussion would be broadcast later in the day.
Obama is scheduled to hold a forum with U.S. business
leaders and financial experts on Dec. 3 to discuss ways to lift
He said he had not decided yet whether any measures to
boost the economy should be deficit neutral, with that being
one of the things to be examined at the forum.
"Our first job was to get the economy to recover. And we're
now seeing that," Obama said.
"We've seen economic growth (in the third quarter). We
anticipate economic growth next quarter as well. I always said
the job growth would lag behind economic growth. The question
now is how can we accelerate it."
In an interview with NBC News, Obama said "there are a
whole range of ideas out there" about how to kick-start hiring
by businesses starting to invest and show profits again.
"We've examined a lot of them but one of the benefits of
convening this group is it gives us a chance to talk directly
to small businesses, medium-size businesses, the main drivers
of employment to find out what exactly is going on."
Asked whether the jobs forum should have been held sooner,
Obama said the focus after he took office in January was "to
make sure we didn't slip into a Great Depression."
"We've gotten that job done," he told NBC. "Our next job is
to make sure that we can accelerate the job growth because I
recognize that people are really hurting right now."
Obama told Fox that one of his messages on his trip was
that the United States should look for further export
opportunities, especially in fast-growing areas of the world
like the Asia-Pacific region.
"If we just boosted our share of exports by 1 percent, that
might be 250,000 well-paying jobs in the United States. So
export promotion would be an example of something we could do
without spending money," he said.
"There may be some tax provisions that can encourage
businesses to hire sooner rather than sitting on the sidelines.
So we're taking a look at those."
(Editing by John O'Callaghan)