South Korean President Lee Myung-bak is mulling a parliamentary address to persuade opposition lawmakers to endorse a long-pending trade agreement with the United States, a ruling party lawmaker said Monday.
Parliamentary Speaker Park Hee-tae will discuss the issue with floor leaders of the ruling and opposition parties, according to Hwang Woo-yea, floor leader of the ruling Grand National Party.
The main opposition Democratic Party is fiercely opposed to the two-way free trade pact with Washington, which some policy think tanks say will create some 350,000 new jobs and increase the country's gross domestic product by 5.66 percent.
The trade deal has been one of the most polarizing political issues here since it was signed in 2007, with opposition lawmakers vowing to block what they see as a lopsided agreement in favor of Washington.
The Democrats have proposed making a dozen changes to the agreement to better protect vulnerable industries at home, but the governing party has dismissed the proposal as "unrealistic."