South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on Tuesday renewed his call for legislative approval for a two-way free trade pact with the United States, which got long-pending endorsement from the U.S. Congress last week.
"Even lawmakers opposed to the free trade agreement actively help the ratification bill pass the Congress," Lee said during a Cabinet meeting, according to his office Cheong Wa Dae. "I hope Cabinet ministers and ruling and opposition lawmakers make more efforts to ratify the deal."
The president's latest plea came after his four-day state visit last week to the U.S., which coincided with U.S. approval for the trade pact that was originally signed in 2007 and supplemented late last year.
Policy think tanks here said the bilateral trade deal would create 350,000 new jobs and increase South Korea's gross domestic product by 5.66 percent, but critics disputed the estimate.
Claiming Seoul made too much concession in automobile regulations, liberal opposition parties are insisting on renegotiation even as their conservative rivals are eyeing ratification by the end of the month.