December 9, 2010
Statement in Opposition to the Korea Free Trade Agreement
by Arthur Stamoulis, Director of Citizens Trade Campaign
“Despite making improvements to a variety of provisions that are supported by the auto assembly industry, the Korea Free Trade Agreement as a whole still contains many measures that threaten to ship American jobs overseas, continuing a model of trade that voters have rejected in election-after-election.
“Public opinion polls released this fall clearly showed that voters blame offshoring for the country’s high unemployment and continued economic stress. Attempting to advance the largest free trade agreement since NAFTA is only going to alienate voters, and comes with high political risks attached.
“Pew Charitable Trust poll results released just weeks ago underscored the fact that a strong majority of Americans understand that free trade agreements cost the country jobs, and that the public particularly questions the wisdom of unbalanced trade with South Korea and China.
“Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle campaigned against offshoring in the recent election. They need to think long and hard about their constituents’ opposition to business-as-usual trade agreements, instead of just listening to interests that seek to profit from the shifts in manufacturing and financial deregulation that the Korea deal promises.
“More than 500 faith, family farm, environmental, labor, consumer, manufacturing and civil society organizations across the country had proposed commonsense reforms to the pact’s investment, labor and financial services provisions well before last week’s deal was struck. Implementing those changes could have been a first step towards transforming U.S. trade policy into a real tool for job creation. It’s disappointing that the opportunity to renegotiate the Korea agreement into one that actually works for the majority of working people, family farmers, consumers and the environment was wasted.”
The Citizens Trade Campaign (CTC) is a national coalition whose members include labor, environmental, family farm, faith and civil society organizations, as well as regional, state and city-based coalitions, organizations and individual activists throughout the United States.