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US gov`t welcomes conclusion of FTA with Korea

Posted December. 06, 2010 11:18,   


The White House has welcomed the results of additional negotiations on the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement.

While U.S. President Barack Obama made a secret visit to a U.S. military base in Bagram, Afghanistan, the White House issued a statement under his name immediately after the conclusion of the deal.

Obama in the statement called the agreement “a landmark trade deal” expected to raise annual exports of American goods by up to 11 billion U.S. dollars and support at least 70,000 American jobs.

After he returned to Washington Saturday, he announced a statement welcoming the deal in person. Calling it a “win-win” agreement between the two allies, he said it will create more jobs for Americans and help double U.S. exports over the next five years.

Obama said the agreement will “create jobs for American workers, farmers and businesses, and achieve our goal of doubling of U.S. exports over five years.” Citing the difficulty of the additional negotiations, he thanked Korean President Lee Myung-bak for his devotion to the successful results.

Calling the deal an example of “fair trade negotiations” that he will continue pursuing with Asian countries and other parts of the world, the U.S. president pledged to cooperate with the Republican and Democratic parties for congressional ratification of the agreement.

Members of Congress also issued a series of statements welcoming the deal. House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (Democrat-Maryland) called the agreement “an important step forward to expand the reach of American exports, which will help create more American jobs.”

David Camp (Republican-Michigan), who is likely to become chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, said the deal is “a big win for American employers and workers.” He thanked Obama and his negotiating team for “working closely with me to reduce the barriers our domestic auto industry faces today and get the best deal possible.”

Sander Levin, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, also welcomed the agreement as “a dramatic step toward changing from a one-way street to a two-way street for trade between the U.S. and South Korea.”

Not everyone was happy over the deal, however, Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, expressed “deep disappointment” over the two sides’ failure to deal with Korea’s major barriers to U.S. beef, urging Korea to fully open its beef market.

Obama will seek ratification of the agreement from the 112th Congress that begins next month before the atmosphere for the 2012 presidential election takes hold. Considering the political calendar, Congress will likely deal with the bill on the agreement in the first half of next year.