(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and US president Barack Obama announced here the implementation of the bilateral free trade pact late Thursday, saying it would further deepen their alliance and promote global free trade.
"The South Korea-US FTA is a high-standard treaty that will become a good model of global free trade." Lee told Obama.
Nation's Newspaper -The Korea Herald- said the two leaders held a 10-minute telephone conference in the morning as the pact, signed in 2007 and revised in 2010, took effect as of midnight Wednesday here. Its effectuation came as left-wing activists and politicians remain opposed to it, arguing that it largely favors U.S. interests.
"I expect the effectuation of the Korea-U.S. FTA to contribute to developing both economies and strengthening bilateral ties. I highly evaluate President Obama s efforts (for the deal)," Lee was quoted by his spokesperson Park Jeong-ha as saying .
In a readout of Obama's call with Lee by the white House on Wednesday, Obama noted "this is a strong example of the accomplishments achieved in the U.S.-Korea partnership. The two countries have made great strides in modernizing our alliance to promote security in the region and in promoting economic growth and trade in the Asia-Pacific."
The long delayed US-FTA,originally signed in July 2007 , however was only approved by the US Congress last October, after a partial renegotiation to address US auto industry complaints.