WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will visit Detroit on Friday, October 14 with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to discuss trade, a White House official said.
The visit to the home of the U.S. automobile industry will come two days after U.S. lawmakers are due to have voted on the long-delayed trade pact between the two countries, and a day after Obama holds a state visit for Lee at the White House.
"On Friday, October 14, President Obama and President Lee of South Korea will travel to the Detroit area to talk about the trade agreement with South Korea that will open up economic opportunities and support jobs on both sides of the Pacific," a White House official said on Friday.
The White House negotiated better terms on autos in the South Korea pact to win over Ford Motor Co and auto workers, who complained the deal failed to knock down longtime barriers in that market while opening up the United States for more imports.
Obama submitted the Korean free trade agreement to Congress on Monday, together with pacts for Colombia and Panama, ending years of delay due to concerns raised mainly by his Democrats, who had feared the trade deals will cost U.S. jobs.
The pact with South Korea is the largest U.S. trade deal since the North American Free Trade Agreement went into force in 1994 and is expected to account for substantial job gains, which Obama has said will run into the tens of thousands. He needs the boost to help cut unemployment pinned above 9 percent that will be vital to improving his chances for reelection in 2012.
(Reporting by Alister Bull; Editing by Eric Walsh)