U.S. to Move Quickly on South Korea Trade Pact

It is the largest such deal for the United States since the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994.

The United States pledged Tuesday to move quickly to put into force a trade agreement with South Korea after the parliament in Seoul approved the long-delayed deal.

"This is a win-win agreement that will provide significant economic and strategic benefits to both countries," U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement.

"We look forward to working closely with the government of Korea to bring the agreement into force as soon as possible," he said.

South Korea's ruling party abruptly pushed the trade agreement through parliament after fierce opposition from opposition lawmakers, one of whom set off a tear gas canister in protest at the pact.

First negotiated in 2007, the pact will end tariffs on most goods between the two major exporters. It is the largest such deal for the United States since the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994.

President Barack Obama has also supported trade agreements with Panama and Colombia and is pushing forward a broader pact known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, despite concerns from some of his trade union allies.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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