Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) issued the following statement this evening after the United States and South Korea reached an agreement on the Korea--U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS):
"I am happy to hear that the United States and South Korea have reached a deal on the Korea-U.S. Trade Agreement, and look forward to reviewing the pact and working hard to secure its early ratification. The Obama administration is sparing no effort to send Congress an agreement that can help create jobs and revitalize our economy, and I am pleased the President made the politically difficult decision to take the time to get this deal done right for America. I understand that there are beef export issues that have not been resolved and urge the administration to continue pushing for better access to the Korean market for American beef as we move forward.
"KORUS represents an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to fair and open markets, and for the new Congress to demonstrate that in spite of today's highly polarized political environment, bipartisan cooperation in the national interest remains attainable. New export opportunities in South Korea for U.S. companies will generate good paying American jobs and contribute to our economic recovery. Moreover, this agreement delivers an important message to an ever closer ally and the region at a time of uncertainty on the Korean Peninsula.
"For many, KORUS has become a symbol of the United States' commitment to the region and our appreciation of its increasingly important role in international commerce. It is essential that the United States enhance its economic presence in Asia and compete on a level playing field with other exporters in the region. Ratification of KORUS is an important step forward that will have enormously positive economic and political implications for our country in the years ahead."