German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised the free trade agreement between the European Union and South Korea as a win-win deal for both sides as she championed free trade before U.S. President Donald Trump.
"Any kind of agreement that we have concluded, for example at the very latest with South Korea, brought us more jobs actually," Merkel said during a joint White House news conference with Trump, referring to the trade deal that has been in effect since 2011.
"People were very much concerned about losing jobs, for example to the automotive industry, but in the end, it turned out, particularly as it regards to South Korea, in the end it turned out that both sides benefited," she said.
She called for resuming negotiations on a free trade deal between the U.S. and the EU based on the spirit that "both sides win."
"That is the sort of spirit I think in which we ought to be guided by in negotiating any agreement between the United States of America and the EU," she said.
During the campaign, Trump blamed free trade deals for job losses and other American economic problems in an attempt to woo voters struggling with economic difficulties. Since taking office, Trump also made protection of American workers and companies from foreign competitors his No. 1 priority.
After taking office, Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 12-nation free trade deal Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and has stepped up attacks on NAFTA, spurring concern that his next target could be the pact with Korea that he denounced as a job-killing deal during the campaign. (Yonhap)