S. Korea's Lee calls for U.S. endorsement of free trade deal

15:02, April 27, 2011      

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South Korean President Lee Myung- bak called Wednesday for an early ratification of a trade deal with Washington in a meeting with the visiting U.S. secretary of commerce, Lee's office said.

Lee asked the four-member delegation led by Gary Locke, U.S. commerce secretary, to make further efforts to get the U.S. Congress to soon endorse the two-way free trade agreement, long awaiting legislative approval in both countries, according to the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

The secretary said he is anticipating an early approval of the deal, citing bipartisan support at home following supplementary agreements last December that allowed Washington to move more slowly on lifting tariffs on South Korean cars.

Seoul and Washington have faced domestic opposition over the deal, originally signed in 2007, due to auto trade imbalances and controversial U.S. beef imports. Observers say supplementary deals reached last year cleared a hurdle for U.S. congressional support.

Source: Xinhua
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