Updated: 2:13 p.m.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is taking its free-trade agenda on the road this week, kicking off a multicity tour to rally support for a free-trade agreement between the United States and South Korea. That FTA remains stalled despite recent White House overtures.
On Thursday, Korean Ambassador Han Duk-soo headlined an event in Alabama that drew more than 200 business leaders, according to chamber official Tami Overby.
The next stop on the multicity campaign is New York City before the tour heads to Baltimore, Boston and Hartford, Conn.
According to Overby, an important selling point of the chamber-backed agreement is how a U.S.-South Korea deal would be “a budget-neutral, job-creating agreement” in a time of double-digit unemployment.
In his 2010 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama said the ongoing economic downturn renews the urgency for Members to ratify pending free-trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.
“We have to seek new markets aggressively, just as our competitors are,” Obama said. “If America sits on the sidelines while other nations sign trade deals, we will lose the chance to create jobs on our shores.”