President Obama and President Lee of the Republic of Korea Speak in Michigan

President Barack Obama and President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea deliver remarks at the Orion Assembly Plant

President Barack Obama and President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea, deliver remarks on the trade agreement, at the General Motors Orion Assembly Plant, Orion Township, Michigan, Oct. 14, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Earlier today, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and President Obama did something out of the ordinary for a state visit: They got out of Washington.

Together, the two leaders toured the General Motors Orion Assembly plant in Michigan -- then spoke to automotive workers.

When President Obama came into office, the plant was in trouble, slated to be closed. But the President made the decision to intervene and save the U.S. auto industry from collapse. Today, more than 1,700 full and part-time employees at Orion are hard at work producing the brand new Chevy Sonic.

President Lee wore a Detroit Tigers baseball cap as he discussed the benefits American workers will see from the new free trade agreement:  

"I know, folks, that some of you here may think that with the implementation of the KORUS FTA, that somehow your jobs may be exported or go somewhere else. But let me tell you one thing: That is not true. I am here with President Obama today because I want to give this promise to you, and that is that the KORUS FTA 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 job. And that is the pledge that I give you today."

President Obama then described the trade deal as a "win-win":  

"Here in the United States, this trade agreement will support at least 70,000 American jobs. It will increase exports. It will boost our economy by more than our last nine trade agreements combined. And as I said, the good thing is we’ve got a balanced situation. It's not just a matter of folks sending a bunch of stuff here. Koreans are also buying American products. That's what makes it a win-win."

Related Topics: Economy, Foreign Policy, Michigan
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