Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk today welcomed President Barack Obama’s direction to complete the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA). The President has asked Ambassador Kirk to initiate new discussions with his Korean counterpart, Minister of Trade Kim Jong-hoon, to resolve outstanding issues in a way that levels the playing field for U.S. workers and producers, with the objective of completing that process by the President Obama’s visit to South Korea for the next G-20 meeting in November. After the meeting and with those issues successfully resolved, the President would then submit the KORUS FTA to Congress in the following months.
“During the past year, USTR has conducted extensive discussions with a wide range of stakeholders and with congressional leaders to gain a detailed understanding of their concerns about this agreement. Now, at President Obama’s direction, we look forward to finalizing ways to address these concerns, level the playing field for U.S. workers and producers in the key sectors of autos and beef, and deliver to Americans the jobs and economic opportunity this agreement can bring,” said Kirk. “I expect to speak to Minister Kim today to express our intention to get to work as quickly as possible. USTR will be consulting closely with Congress and stakeholders before we initiate further discussions with our South Korean counterparts, to ensure that our proposals adequately address outstanding concerns – and these consultations will continue throughout the process."