From the joint news conference held Thursday by President Obama and President Lee Myung-Bak of South Korea.
Now, with regards to the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement, President Obama and I agreed that we will give my trade minister and the U.S. Trade Representative more time so that they can finalize the technical issues. And President Obama and I will continue to work together so that we can have a mutually acceptable agreement at the earliest possible date.
As President Lee just noted, we discussed the need to keep moving forward towards a U.S.-Korea free trade agreement, which would create jobs and prosperity in both our countries. We believe that such an agreement, if done right, can be a win-win for our people. It could be a win for the United States because it would increase the export of American goods by some $10 billion, and billions more in services, supporting more than 70,000 jobs back home.
It could be a win for South Korea, with more access to the American economy, which would support jobs, raise living standards, and offer more choices for Korean consumers. And it could be a win for the overall economic partnership between our two countries by bringing us closer together, allowing us to benefit from each other’s innovations, and ensuring strong protections for workers’ rights and the environment.
So we have asked our teams to work tirelessly in the coming days and weeks to get this completed, and we are confident that we will do so. And President Lee in fact asked his team to come to Washington in the near future to continue these discussions. So I appreciate all the efforts that he’s making on this issue.
And here’s a selection of reading to catch up on the President’s trip to Asia and negotiations over the U.S.-Korea FTA:
- Washington Post, “Obama ends Asia tour with ailing nation“
- Reuters, “U.S.-Korea trade pact faltered over autos: U.S. official”
- Chosun Ilbo (Korea) editorial, “Arm-Wrestling Could Jeopardize Korea-US FTA”
- New York Times, “Obama’s Trade Strategy Runs Into Stiff Resistance”
- The Australian, “Free trade the answer, PM tells leaders
- Sydney Morning Herald, “Unite for free trade, Gillard tells G20 leaders“
- Phil Levy, American Enterprise Institute, writing at Foreign Policy’s Shadow Government blog, “The KORUS catastrophe“