Thursday, August 05, 2010

Campaigning against Korea FTA

South Korea is emerging as the test of whether trade policy under President Obama will be much different from that established by previous administrations, Democratic and Republican.

At issue is the Free Trade Agreement that President George Bush signed with South Korea three years ago. President Obama says he will send it to Congress for approval after negotiating changes with the Seoul government.

A coalition of unions, environmental, family farm, and other civil society organizations is circulating the text of a letter to Obama urging him to seize the opportunity to adopt “new trade rules that create American jobs.” Among the specific changes needed to gain support of a new FTA are removal of these existing objectionable features:
-- the explicit ban on reference to the core conventions of the UN International Labor Organization, which are “the fundamental platform of international labor rights.”
-- the “extreme foreign investor rights and their private investor-state enforcement that you rightly criticized during your campaign” for posing special threats to attack U.S. environmental, financial, health, and other policies in foreign tribunals.
-- the trade barriers harming numerous U.S. industries such as the auto and beef sectors, which undermine the goal of creating two million new American jobs through export expansion.

Instead of approving another trade pact patterned after the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the letter encourages the President to correct the most problematic features of the Korean FTA by using this U.S. proposed law as a guide: the Trade Reform, Accountability, Development, and Employment (TRADE) Act now pending in Congress.

For information about the Korea FTA check http://www.citizenstrade.org/ and http://wwww.aflcio.org.

More than 100 local, state, and national organizations have signed on to the letter expressing opposition to the 2007 deal. To add your organization’s name to the letter, contact agussert@citizenstrade.org.
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