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House Democrats Warn Obama of Opposition to Korean Trade Deal

More than 100 Democratic House Members are requesting an audience with President Barack Obama to register their opposition to a pending free-trade deal with South Korea, they wrote in a letter Thursday.

“The Korean [Free Trade Agreement], as negotiated by President George W. Bush’s administration, is another NAFTA-style FTA that we simply cannot support in its current form,” they wrote. “We oppose specific provisions of the agreement in the financial services, investment, and labor chapters, because they benefit multi-national corporations at the expense of small businesses and workers.”

“At a time when our economy is struggling to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression, it is unthinkable to consider moving forward with another FTA,” they wrote.

At a recent Group of 20 summit in Toronto, Obama said he wanted lawmakers to ratify a trade deal with the Asian country by this fall, when he will travel there to meet again with the leaders of the world’s largest economies.

In his 2010 State of the Union address, Obama pledged to revisit pending trade pacts with South Korea, Panama and Colombia. The current White House hopes that finishing the deals will jump-start the ailing U.S. economy.

“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.”

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