President Obama and President Lee on the KORUS FTA

October 14, 2011 | 25:28 | Public Domain

In his remarks to the workers of the Lake Orion, Michigan General Motors plant, President Obama said, "two years ago it looked like this plant was going to have to shut its doors. All these jobs would have been lost. The entire community would have been devastated. And the same was true for communities all across the Midwest. And I refused to let that happen."

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


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."

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