SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea's president on Monday said a hard-fought free trade accord with the United States will boost his country's economy and strengthen its security alliance with Washington.
Lee Myung-bak said in a New Year's speech that the deal will also help turn South Korea into an international trading hub nation.
The accord was originally signed in 2007 but ratification was stalled amid American demands that South Korea remedy its auto trade surplus.
The countries reached a final agreement on the deal last month. But it still requires approval by legislatures in both countries.
Lee said South Korea will also carefully but quickly work on free trade negotiations with China and Japan.