President Obama has committed the USA to complete negotiations over a free trade agreement with South Korea by November 2010, to give the President time to present the proposals to congress.
Meeting President Lee at the G20 summit in Toronto, Canada, Obama expressed military support for South Korea, as well as an intention to co-operate financially:
There has been a lengthy negotiation to arrive at a free trade agreement. The last time I was in Korea, I said that I would be committed to moving this forward. And today I indicated to President Lee that it is time that our United States Trade Representative work very closely with his counterpart from the ROK to make sure that we set a path, a road, so that I can present this FTA to Congress.
We are going to do it in a methodical fashion. I want to make sure that everything is lined up properly by the time that I visit Korea in November. And then in the few months that follow that, I intend to present it to Congress. It is the right thing to do for our country. It is the right thing to do for Korea. It will strengthen our commercial ties and create enormous potential economic benefits and create jobs here in the United States, which is my number one priority.
The insurance group ACE Group (headed by ACE Limited NYSE:ACE) and courier service UPS (NYSE:UPS) were both quick to issue statements of support for the Free Trade Agreement.
Scott Davis, chairman and CEO of UPS, explained:
South Korea has the 14th largest economy in the world and the increase in trade that will come from this agreement means more jobs and more global competitiveness for the two countries. South Korea is our seventh largest trading partner and we need to protect and expand that relationship.
Lower customs clearance times will significantly improve efficiency for companies such as UPS.