Lee, Obama celebrate FTA implementation
By Kang Hyun-kyung
The leaders of South Korea and the United States agreed to make joint efforts to overcome economic difficulties to make their economies grow as a bilateral free trade agreement between the two went into effect Thursday.
In a phone conversation that lasted about 10 minutes early Thursday morning, President Lee Myung-bak and U.S. President Barack Obama shared the view that the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement (KORUS FTA) will set a good example for international trade.
Lee said he appreciated Obama’s efforts for ratification of the deal in the U.S. Congress, expressing hopes that the trade deal can help deepen bilateral ties further.
“If the U.S. economy recovers and creates jobs, this will send a good signal not only to the U.S. economy, but also to the global one,” Lee was quoted as saying by Cheong Wa Dae.
Obama was quoted as saying that the KORUS FTA going into effect was important for the two countries and their people, as well as the Korea-U.S. alliance.
The U.S. President said the two would benefit from the deal as investment, trade, exports and job creation are likely to follow.
Obama said he was anticipating meeting with Lee in two weeks during the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit on March 26 and 27. He also expressed the hope that he and Lee can have an extensive conversation on security in Northeast Asia during his Seoul visit.
In response, Lee was quoted as saying that the Nuclear Security Summit initiated by Obama has great significance. He also expressed hopes that the two leaders will be able to exchange views on pending issues on the sidelines of the summit.