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Obama lauds U.S., South Korean trade deal

WASHINGTON, Dec 4 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Saturday a new trade deal with South Korea will boost U.S. annual exports of automobile, agricultural products and other goods and services by $11 billion.

“Last month in Seoul I directed our negotiators to achieve the best deal for American workers and companies and this agreement meets that test,” Obama said in a statement.

“We are strengthening our ability to create and defend manufacturing jobs in the United States, increasing exports of agricultural products for American farmers and ranchers and opening Korea’s services market to American companies.”

The two allies signed a trade agreement on June 30, 2007, but ratification has been delayed due to sticking points involving U.S. autos and the opening of South Korean beef market.

Writing by Bill Trott, editing by Philip Barbara