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Trade Agreement

October 14, 2011 | By Peter Nicholas and Michael A. Memoli
Much as he may want to run against a "do-nothing" Congress, President Obama found himself marking congressional passage of major trade deals, appearing Friday at a General Motors plant in Michigan to tout the South Korean pact, in particular, as a "win-win" for both countries. Obama was accompanied on the trip by the visiting South Korean president, Lee Myung-bak, who proved himself a savvy politician by donning a Detroit Tigers cap for the occasion. The Tigers are playing the Texas Rangers in the American League Championship Series.
October 13, 2011 | By Lisa Mascaro
In an address to members of Congress Thursday, South Korea's president thanked lawmakers for passing  a long-awaited trade agreement with his country, what he called the opening of a “new chapter” in the already strong relations between the two nations. President Lee Myung-bak spoke to a joint meeting of Congress a day after the House and Senate ratified the South Korea trade pact and two others that had languished amid the partisan rancor that has come to define Washington.
August 5, 2011 | By Lisa Mascaro and Don Lee, Los Angeles Times
Senate leaders announced a breakthrough on long-stalled trade agreements with South Korea and other U.S. trading partners, promising swift votes on one of President Obama's top priorities after Congress returns next month from its August recess. The accord comes at a time of growing economic uncertainty in the U.S. as unemployment remains high and the president and members of both parties struggle to show voters that jobs and the middle class are their top priority. Proponents say the trade agreements — with Colombia and Panama as well as South Korea — will pump as much as $14 billion into the U.S. economy and add more than 250,000 jobs.
July 9, 2011 | By Peter Nicholas, Washington Bureau
As White House aides search for ways to show progress on the economy, they are banking that a set of small-scale proposals may be able to win congressional approval and dent a chronically high unemployment rate considered the main threat to President Obama's reelection chances. Obama has turned to the modest measures in the absence of more ambitious tools, such as stimulus spending, which are not an option for the White House in the climate of austerity and fiscal discipline dominating Washington.
June 29, 2011 | By Don Lee and Lisa Mascaro, Los Angeles Times
The White House and Senate Democratic leaders reached a breakthrough on passing long-sought trade agreements with South Korea and other U.S. trading partners. But key Republicans immediately threatened to torpedo the plan Tuesday because it would extend an existing federal program to retrain American workers who lose jobs to foreign competition. In the kind of compromise that historically assures passage of a legislative proposal, the job-training provision was added to the trade agreements, long favored by business groups, in order to win over Democratic lawmakers from industrial states such as Michigan, where overseas competition is blamed for thousands of lost jobs.
April 11, 2011
In the four years since the United States and Colombia reached a trade agreement that would eliminate steep tariffs on U.S. exports to the South American nation, the proposed pact has languished in Congress. Democrats, backed by their allies in organized labor, opposed it, accusing Colombia of turning a blind eye to rampant human rights abuses against union leaders. But a glimmer of hope emerged last week when the White House announced it had brokered a new deal with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to improve the pact's protections for union activists.
March 16, 2011 | By Brad Sherman
Supporters of the proposed free-trade agreement between the United States and South Korea argue that we should approve the pact to improve our economy and to reward an ally in a troubled region for its strong security relationship with the U.S., and to solidify these strong security ties with a stronger trade relationship. Though there is no doubt South Korea is a close ally, we need to ensure that the agreement does not undermine U.S. security and economic interests by benefiting North Korea.
February 9, 2011 | By Michael A. Memoli and Michael Muskal, Washington Bureau
The top Republicans in the House of Representatives dined with President Obama on Wednesday, and the menu was dominated by talk on the economy, budget deficits, regulatory reform and trade. Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, of California, had lunch with the president, Vice President Joe Biden and Chief of Staff Bill Daley. There were no concrete agreements, but both sides said the session was agreeable.  “It was a very good lunch, and we were able to find enough common ground, I think, to assure the American people that we are willing to work on their behalf and willing to do it together,” Boehner, of Ohio,  told reporters after the luncheon.
January 24, 2011 | By Alana Semuels and Tom Hamburger, Los Angeles Times
On the eve of President Obama's expected push for American competitiveness in his State of the Union speech, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce kicked off a lobbying campaign in Los Angeles to push the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement. Its most unusual feature: close cooperation between the business group and the White House. The trade deal, which would be the largest since NAFTA took effect in 1994, has provided the first notes of harmony between the Obama administration and the chamber, whose relationship has been strained almost since the moment Obama took office.
November 12, 2010 | By John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times
Song Myoung-geun is a hard-driving car dealer pushing Fords to South Korean buyers. He's so good at his job that last year he ranked third nationwide in personal sales for the U.S.-made vehicles. The bad news: He moved 72 cars in 12 months, a rate that surely would win no awards in the United States. By comparison, the top Hyundai salesman here sold 357 vehicles and the maker's third-place finisher sold 264. Song's plight shows the challenge of selling foreign-made automobiles with their added taxes in a nation determined to peddle homegrown brands.
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