South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan (right) and Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon are stepping up efforts on the Korea U.S.- Free-Trade Agreement (KORUS) at the National Assembly in Seoul, according to Yonhap News Agency.

The Seoul government is working to obtain parliamentary ratification of KORUS after the U.S. submitted the trade pact to Congress for approval Oct. 3.

The U.S. is seeking congressional ratification of the deal ahead of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's scheduled state visit to the United States next week..

The Korea-U.S. trade pact was submitted by the Obama Administration to Congress earlier this week along with trade deals with Panama and Colombia. KORUS would provide the biggest impact of the three trade agreements for the U.S. pork industry, adding $11 per hog marketed, according to estimates.

A U.S. House committee approved the trade pacts just two days after receiving them, setting the stage for a full House vote. The full House vote is expected to give approval, however the three FTA’s also will require Senate approval.

The trade deal with South Korea, the biggest single U.S. trade pact since the North American Free Trade Agreement, will need to be ratified by Seoul. Lingering opposition to KORUS still exists among certain government factions there.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak will visit Washington, D.C. on Oct. 13 for a trade summit with U.S. officials. The meeting provides added urgency to Congress for fast-track approval of the trade pacts, especially KORUS. An announcement heralding the approved trade deal would provide a fitting centerpiece for the discussions.

Source: Yonhap