Ford CEO praises passage of Korea trade deal

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"This would not be possible without the improvements made last year to increase transparency and address trade policies," he continued. "We deeply appreciate the tireless efforts of the Obama Administration and Congress to both improve the agreement and make this opportunity a reality."

President Obama, who has sought to turn the bailouts given to some American car companies into a political advantage, has argued for months that the trade deals would benefit the Detroit auto industry.

"If Americans can buy Kias and Hyundais, I want to see folks in South Korea driving Fords and Chevys," Obama has said frequently in recent stump speeches.

Mulally has widely been credited with turning around Ford's finances. The company was the only major U.S. automaker not to accept a bailout from the federal government during the 2008 economic meltdown.