AAP staff report
Washington, D.C. (December 6, 2010) – The U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement has received support and praise from elected officials of both Democrat and Republic parties, the business community, and advocacy groups. The President said he is pleased that the landmark trade deal is expected to increase annual exports of American goods by up to $11 billion and support at least 70,000 American jobs.
The deal began to come together last month when Obama was in Seoul for the G20 talks. He said American auto manufacturers would now have more access and a level playing field to the Korean market. He said the U.S. manufacturing base and its jobs will improve with increased exports in most industries and presents the groundwork to achieve the goal of doubling of U.S. exports over five years.
“It deepens the strong alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea and reinforces American leadership in the Asia Pacific,” said Obama.
“As I said in Seoul, I’m not interested in signing trade agreements for the sake of signing trade agreements,” said Obama. “I’m interested in agreements that increase jobs and exports for the American people and that also help our partners grow their economies.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the President’s announcement is a positive development towards completing a free trade agreement with our ally South Korea that will promote economic opportunity and private sector job creation.
“The goal of improving market access for American farmers, entrepreneurs and manufacturers is one that the President and I share,” said McConnell. “We both agree that increasing markets overseas through trade agreements will create good jobs that are greatly needed at this time of high unemployment. I intend to support a strong agreement and am hopeful that with a more balanced Congress, we will see renewed support for this, and the other trade agreements that have been languishing for the past two years.”
Representative Sander Levin (D-MI) called the Agreement a dramatic step toward changing from a one-way street to a two-way street for trade between the U.S. and South Korea, and an important step toward a global rules-based trade system.
Representative Dave Camp (R-MI) called it a “big win for American employers and workers” and said he looks forward to working on a bipartisan basis with the Administration to implement this agreement.
“I want to thank the President 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,” said Camp. “The agreement concluded today will give meaningful market access to U.S. auto companies and support good-paying jobs in the United States.
“Not only will this agreement ensure that job-creating U.S. exports are competitive in this vital market, it will – along with other ongoing trade talks in the region – provide us with a critical counterbalance to China’s growing influence.”
Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford Motor Company, applauded the outline of the revised Agreement, crediting Obama and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk with “vigorously” advocating the principles of two-way trade that resulted in greater clarity and transparency on non-tariff and tariff barriers.
“These new provisions provide Ford greater confidence that we will be able to better serve our Korean customers,” said Mulally. “We deeply appreciate the tireless efforts of the Obama Administration and Congress to improve this agreement and open the Korean auto market.”
Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said he is pleased that the Obama Administration has reached an agreement with South Korea, and called it an important step forward to expand the reach of American exports, and to help create more American jobs.
“It also helps strengthen our ties to a dependable democratic ally that fosters prosperity and stability in Asia and enhances our economic and national security,” said Hoyer. “The FTA also includes important changes to ensure that workers’ rights and the environment are protected.”
Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, applaud Obama and President Lee for leadership on the Agreement. He said their commitment provides momentum for swift approval and implementation by both governments.
“Today’s announcement is an important step in achieving the goal of doubling exports in five years, as well as helping to fuel the overall economic recovery,” said Dimon.
Vikram Pandit, CEO of Citigroup, said the Agreement would bring significant economic benefits to America’s financial, manufacturing, services, and farming sectors.
“Expanding trade and investment flows is a key driver of economic growth, and the FTA between our two counties will help to create much-needed jobs as America continues on the road to economic recovery,” said Pandit. “We look forward to the ratification and implementation of this important accord.”
Bill Reinsch, president, National Foreign Trade Council, said the KORUS FTA has long been a policy priority of the U.S. business community, and that the NFTC commends U.S. and Korean negotiators’ commitment to resolving market access issues with respect to autos.
“The FTA will play a critical role in strengthening our economic partnership with Korea, as well as our decades-long strategic alliance,” said Reinsch.
Bob Pisano, president and interim CEO, Motion Picture Association of America, commended Obama and Lee for making the Agreement a significant foreign policy priority and working bilaterally to advance the initiative.
“This agreement is a victory for the U.S. motion picture and television industry and the creative men and women whose livelihoods depend on it, and we support its prompt ratification,” said Pisano.