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Obama wants "deal done" on South Korea trade pact

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he wants to iron out remaining issues with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on a stalled free trade pact and that the agreement could benefit U.S. exporters.

"We're going to be discussing this with South Korea. I want to get the deal done," Obama said in an interview with Fox News during his nine-day trip to Asia.

Obama arrived in South Korea on Wednesday and was due to hold meetings with South Korean officials on Thursday.

Asked if he thought passage of the trade agreement could be completed next year, Obama said: "The question is whether we can get it done in the beginning of 2010, whether we can get it done at the end of 2010. There's still some details that need to be worked out."

The trade deal was struck more than two years ago but has yet to be approved by legislatures in either country.

If implemented, it would be the biggest U.S. free trade deal since the NAFTA accord with Canada and Mexico in the mid-1990s.

The Obama administration has cited concerns about the impact of the deal with South Korea on some U.S. industries, such as car makers.

"Overall, I think it's a potential good deal for U.S. exporters," Obama said.

A partial transcript of the interview was released to Reuters. The interview will be broadcast later on Wednesday on Fox News Channel's "Special Report with Bret Baier."

(Reporting by Caren Bohan and Jeff Mason; Editing by Will Dunham)

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