Entries in South Korea (3)


Obama, Lee Praise US-Korea Trade Deal as ‘Win-Win’ in Detroit

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images(DETROIT) -- President Obama traveled to Detroit Friday to tout the success of his administration’s bailout of the auto industry and to highlight the job-creating potential of the newly-passed Korean trade deal. However, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, who was along for the field trip, clearly stole the show.

Wearing a bright blue Detroit Tigers baseball hat, Lee walked on stage at the General Motors plant in Lake Orion, Mich., to cheers and applause.

“As you can see, President Lee is a pretty good politician,” Obama joked. “He knows how to get on your good side.”

Lee, a former Hyundai CEO, highlighted how the trade deal will help revive the American auto industry and reassured workers that the agreement will not ship their jobs overseas.

“I am here with President Obama today because I want to give this promise to you, and that is that the KORUS FTA will not take away any of your jobs; rather, it will create more jobs for you and your families, and it is going to protect your jobs.  And this is the pledge that I give you today,” Lee said.

“Motor City is going to come back again, and it’s going to revive its past glory.  And I have all the confidence in the world that you are going to do that,” he added.

Obama agreed, saying the pact was a “win-win” for both countries that will ultimately “lead to more jobs, more opportunity for both nations.”

“Even though, you know, he’s a Hyundai guy,” Obama said of Lee. “If Americans can buy Kias and Hyundais from Korea, then I know Koreans should be able to buy some Fords and Chryslers and Chevys that are made right here in the United States of America.”     

The day after their official state visit at the White House, Obama and Lee spent the afternoon touring the GM facility where the Chevrolet Sonic is manufactured, a car that was originally engineered for GM Korea. The White House asserts that the Orion plant, which was scheduled to close its doors two years ago during GM’s bankruptcy restructuring, was brought back from the brink by a joint venture with GM Korea, ultimately saving the jobs of the 1,750 workers.

The subcompact car went on to become the first that GM has built in the U.S. in over 40 years and the only one sold in the country that is built in the U.S.

Touting the success of his decision to bail out the auto industry, Obama said: “Two years ago, it looked like this plant was going to have to shut its doors. All these jobs would have been lost; the entire community would have been devastated.  And the same was true for communities all across the Midwest.  And I refused to let that happen."

“When I took office, I was determined to rebuild this economy based on what this country has always done best:  not just buying and consuming, but building, making things, selling those goods all around the world stamped with three proud words:  ‘made in America.’” Obama added.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Agreement Frees Up Free Trade Agreements

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The White House and Senate Democrats say they have reached an agreement on the underlying terms for a renewal of Trade Adjustment Assistance for American workers, paving the way for lawmakers to move forward with pending free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.

“[President Obama] has fought for Trade Adjustment Assistance for those American workers who lose their jobs due to increased imports or outsourcing.  As a result of extensive negotiations, we now have an agreement on the underlying terms for a meaningful renewal of a strengthened TAA,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced Tuesday in a written statement. “The President embraces these critical elements of TAA needed to ensure that workers have the best opportunity to get good jobs that keep them in the middle class.”

Trade Adjustment Assistance, which expired in February, provides financial assistance to workers, firms and farmers affected by increased trade. The White House had previously said that the three trade deals would not be submitted to Congress until lawmakers reached a deal to renew the expanded version of TAA. Now, its renewal is expected to be included into the Korea trade agreement’s implementing bill.

Still, House Republicans aren’t necessarily on board with the president’s agreement with Senate Democrats, and continue to push for TAA to be considered separately from the trade agreements.

“We’re pleased the President may finally send us the three job-creating trade agreements we’ve requested.  But we have long said that TAA -- even this scaled-back version -- should be dealt with separately from the trade agreements, and that is how we expect to proceed,” said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner.

The Senate Finance Committee announced Tuesday that they will hold a “mock” markup this Thursday for the trio of pending trade agreements -- and the extension of TAA after brokering a deal with the White House.

The Finance Committee will consider the draft implementing bills during a "mock" markup because Congress cannot amend final implementing bills submitted by the administration under the Trade Promotion Authority Act -- also known as "fast track" -- procedures.  Committee mock markups are the only opportunities for lawmakers to offer amendments to the White House’s proposals.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


President Obama Pleased with Korea Trade Deal

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Calling it a “landmark” deal, President Obama said Saturday he’s “very pleased” with the free-trade agreement the United States and South Korea have worked out.

“This deal is a win for American workers, for farmers and ranchers,” the president announced this afternoon in a statement read from the White House. 

Obama boasted that the deal will contribute significantly to his goal of doubling U.S. exports over the next five years by opening up the Korean market to American aerospace products, electronics, and cars and trucks. 

“In short, the tariff reductions in this agreement alone are expected to boost annual exports of American goods by up to 11 billion. All told, this agreement, including the opening of the Korean service market, will support at least 70,000 American jobs,” Obama said.

The deal now must be ratified by Congress and approved by lawmakers in South Korea.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports passage of the agreement, and its president said in a statement Friday that the lobby organization will do everything in its power to round up the votes needed. 

News of the trade agreement was announced late Friday.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio