Obama, Lee to pitch trade deal in Michigan

October 14, 2011 - 4:00 AM
Obama US South Korea

President Barack Obama offers a toast during a State Dinner with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in the East Room at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama and South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak want to showcase Congress' approval of a major trade agreement between the two countries with a tour of a Michigan auto plant.

The visit represents a rare joint appearance outside of Washington by a U.S. president and a visiting head of state.

Obama and Lee will visit General Motors Co.'s Orion assembly plant north of Detroit Friday. In choosing an auto plant, the two leaders will highlight the trade deal's success in lifting South Korea's barriers to U.S.-made cars.

For Obama, the trip is a chance to draw attention to the auto industry's recovery after an $80 billion government bailout for GM and Chrysler in 2009. The Orion plant reopened after the bailout and now produces the subcompact Chevrolet Sonic.