This weekend, experts from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative are in Seattle, Washington, hammering out the legal language for the landmark trade agreement President Obama announced earlier this month: improvements on the US-Korea trade deal that make the pact better for American workers and businesses, particularly in our recovering auto sector.
That agreement was reached after the President walked away from an earlier offer at the G20 meeting in Seoul, Korea. What our Korean counterparts put on the table wasn't good enough for you then, and the President chose to take more time to get the agreement right. The result of that bold decision was an agreement that won wide acclaim on announcement, and we're eager to work with its supporters on both sides of the aisle in Congress to advance it as quickly as possible.
Many are asking whether two other pending trade agreements - those with Colombia and Panama - should move forward with the Korea deal. A story posted on the Politico website Friday caused some confusion about our position on that question, but it is exactly the same as it has been. While the President has not yet discussed a timeline for moving the Colombia agreement or the Panama agreement, he has said consistently that he wants his Trade Representative, Ron Kirk, to resolve outstanding issues with these agreements. The USTR office is working to do so for the express purpose of moving each agreement forward at the right time for Congress's consideration.
This is a solid promise. The President's determination to get the Korea deal right resulted in a landmark achievement with significant support, and we'll seek the same on other trade pacts. We intend to conclude the best deals possible for American workers and businesses - agreements that are responsible and responsive to Americans' concerns, and that can soon bring home the jobs and economic prosperity that come when trade is done right. That's been our commitment from the start, and it's our commitment today. We look forward to working with the new Congress to fulfill it.