Following a bilateral meeting with Korean President Lee Myung-bak in Toronto on Saturday, President Obama announced that the United States Trade Representative will work closely with its counterparts in Korea to resolve pending issues in the U.S.-Korea FTA by November so that the administration could submit the agreement to Congress in the following months. As President Obama said:
I want to make sure that everything is lined up properly by the time that I visit Korea in November. And then in the few months that follow that, I intend to present it to Congress. It is the right thing to do for our country. It is the right thing to do for Korea. It will strengthen our commercial ties and create enormous potential economic benefits and create jobs here in the United States, which is my number one priority.
Great news! Korea is more than a $300 billion annual import market, and we are on the verge of being shut out as the European Union implements its trade agreement with Korea – so if the President sends the agreement up in early 2011, we will be able to avoid the export and job loss. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has done its Congressional nose count, and the votes are there. All that is needed is for the President to say this agreement is in our interest and he wants it passed.