President Lee Myung-bak on Wednesday discussed with visiting U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke how to get the pending Korea-U.S. free trade deal approved by the parliaments of both countries.
The bilateral free trade agreement, first signed in 2007 and supplemented last December, is yet to be ratified by the National Assembly and the U.S. Congress.
Lee’s meeting with Locke Wednesday came a week after the president met with five U.S. Republican senators led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier this month in Seoul and exchanged views on the pending FTA.
Seoul and Washington have been trying to get the FTA take effect as soon as possible amid complaints from certain sectors such as the auto business in the U.S. and the agricultural sector in Korea.
Locke was accompanied by Rep. Jim McDermott (Democrat) of Washington, Rep. Joseph Crowley (D.) of New York, Rep. Charles Rangel (D.) of New York and Rep. Dave Reichert (R.) of Washington.
Lee requested the U.S. Congress to make efforts for early ratification of the FTA, Cheong Wa Dae said in a press release.
Locke replied that he would do his best and said that he wished the FTA’s ratification process in Seoul would go smoothly as well.
By Kim So-hyun (email@example.com