March 08, 2011 09:21
The Obama administration says it is ready to send a free trade agreement with Korea to Congress for final approval.
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk sent a letter to key lawmakers Monday saying he is prepared to hold technical discussions on the U.S.-Korea trade agreement, which was signed nearly four years ago.
Officials say the deal would increase U.S. exports to that Asian country and would create thousands of new jobs for Americans. It has to be ratified by Congress before it can be enacted.
The two countries signed it in June 2007, but the deal stalled because of stiff opposition from the U.S. auto industry.
The Obama administration renegotiated parts of the deal late last year to improve terms for U.S. automakers.
Republican lawmakers say they generally support the trade deal with Korea, but some have threatened to block its approval unless the White House also sends them pending trade agreements with Colombia and Panama. Administration officials say there still are issues to be worked out on both of the other accords.
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