News / USA

Obama Factory Visit Highlights Korea Trade Agreement

A security detail keeps watch at General Motors Orion Assembly plant as U.S. President Barack Obama arrives to tour the facility with South Korean President  Lee Myung-bak in Detroit, Michigan, October 14, 2011
A security detail keeps watch at General Motors Orion Assembly plant as U.S. President Barack Obama arrives to tour the facility with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in Detroit, Michigan, October 14, 2011

President Barack Obama used a factory visit on Friday to highlight benefits for U.S. workers and the economy of the free-trade agreement with South Korea ratified by Congress this week.  President Obama brought South Korea's president with him on a tour of a General Motors plant in the midwest state of Michigan.

The visit was designed to spotlight two key achievements President Barack Obama can now point to as he faces what he has acknowledged is an uphill climb to re-election 2012.

Decisions he made early in his presidency helped rescue the U.S. auto industry, saving tens of thousands of jobs, something he mentions in virtually every campaign speech across the country.

Obama also made approval of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and similar deals for Colombia and Panama a priority, though the road to ratification by Congress was fraught with difficulties.

The plant in Orion, Michigan with its 1,750 workers was to have closed under auto industry restructuring, but survived and now produces a Chevrolet model originally engineered in South Korea.  

With South Korean President Lee Myung-bak by his side,  Obama repeated a slogan he has often used about leveling the playing field and boosting exports.

"If Americans can buy Kias and Hyundais from Korea, then I know Koreans should be able to buy some Fords, and Chryslers and Chevys that are made right here in the United States of America," said President Obama.

The White House says the Korea trade deal will support at least 70,000 U.S. jobs, though critics assert it will have a minimal impact on improving the nation's nine-percent unemployment.

Asked by a reporter if Obama could assure the U.S. auto industry that American exports would be brought into parity with those from South Korea, Press Secretary Jay Carney could not supply any figures, but said the whole point is to open that market to U.S. automakers.   

United Auto Workers President Bob King, who toured the plant with President Obama, said changes the president insisted on ensure greater access to the South Korean market and protect against "harmful surges" of Korean automotive imports.

Wearing a Detroit Tigers baseball cap, and using the term "Motor City" to describe nearby Detroit, President Lee sought to ease fears the free-trade agreement will result in more jobs leaving the United States.  

"I want to give you this promise to you, and that is that the [Korea - U.S. Free Trade Agreement] will not take away any of your jobs, rather it will create more jobs for you and your family, and it is going to protect your jobs and this is the pledge that I give you today," said President Lee Myung-bak.

President Obama will continue highlighting the success of his U.S. auto industry rescue even as his major jobs legislation faces obstacles in Congress.  

The bill was voted down by the U.S. Senate this week, but Obama vows to continue pressing Congress to pass key parts of it, while Republicans promote proposals they say will be more effective.   

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid