But after visits to India and Indonesia, where Obama on his own removed trade barriers and announced specific export contracts, the politically weakened president could not bring home the agreement that would have the most far-reaching effect on the U.S. economy.
Administration officials say the nearly complete South Korea deal, which Obama inherited from the George W. Bush administration, would increase exports of U.S. goods by $10 billion annually and support 70,000 jobs in the United States. Although the list of outstanding issues was short and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce lobbied heavily for the agreement, key labor and auto interests and their allies in Congress demanded a fuller opening of South Korea's market. Any deal would have required congressional approval, leaving Obama little room to compromise after elections that lessened his clout on Capitol Hill.
Officials were aiming to finish the agreement before the president sat down Thursday with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. But talks foundered, and the two leaders were left with nothing more to announce than that they would keep working.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Weakened Obama can't get Bush written trade agreement signed with South Korea.
Reading between the lines the unions and Dems mucked up the works.