Korean & U.S. Groups Call for Repealing the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement

For Immediate Release
Monday, November 6, 2017

Korean & U.S. Groups Call for Repealing the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement

Consolidating KORUS on the Basis of Security Called “Opportunistic, Unnecessary and Wholly Unacceptable”

SEOUL, Republic of Korea — As Presidents Donald Trump and Moon Jae-in prepare to meet this week, civil society organizations from Korea and the United States issued a statement reiterating their long-standing opposition to the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement and calling for its repeal.  The statement was issued by Citizens Trade Campaign, a U.S.-based coalition of labor, environmental, family farm, consumer and faith organizations together representing more than 12 million Americans, and thirty-three different Korean organizations.

The United States and South Korea are strong allies, and yet the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) harms the people of our nations.

U.S. and Korean civil society groups vigorously opposed KORUS when it was first proposed because we knew that a deal negotiated behind closed doors with hundreds of corporate advisors would be disastrous for working people, family farmers, public health and the environment in both countries. We continue to oppose KORUS’s corporate-centered terms, including investor-state dispute settlement that empowers multinational corporations to challenge our laws before panels of three private lawyers, intellectual property rules that drive up the cost of medicines and undermine human rights, rules that push a radical deregulation agenda, and more.  In its five years in effect, the U.S.-Korea trade agreement proved even worse than expected.

How to peacefully resolve military tension on the Korean peninsula is a challenging question, but what should happen with KORUS is an entirely separate question that is straightforward.  Any attempts to further entrench corporate power and consolidate KORUS on the basis of security would be opportunistic, unnecessary and wholly unacceptable. We call on our governments to repeal KORUS, and to work together for a peaceful resolution to the current military conflict.

We also call on our governments to fulfill their promise of 2006 that the KORUS negotiating documents are kept in confidence for only three years from the entry into force of KORUS, and to fully disclose all the original KORUS negotiating documents, many of which still remain secret.

Citizens Trade Campaign

Association of Korea Doctors for Health Rights

Association of Physicians for Humanism

Conference for Movement of Democratic Families’

Conference of the bereaved family for National Democracy

Council for Federal Reunificateion of Korea

International Trade Research Institute


Jinbo Network

Karl Polanyi Institute Asia

Knowledge Commune

Korea Alliance for Progressive Movement

Korea Alliance of the Poor

Korea Catholic Farmer’s Movement

Korea Center Council for National Independence, Democracy and Reunification

Korea Demoractic Street Venders Confederation

Korea Dentists Association for Health Society

Korea Peasants League

Korea Solidarity for National Independence, Democracy and Reunification

Korea Street Vendors Confederation

Korea Supporters Association for Prisoner of Conscience

Korea Women Peasants Association

Korea Women’s Alliance

Korea Youth Solidarity

Korean Council for Democratic Martyrs

Korean Council of Democratic Laborers

Korean Federation of Medical Groups for Health Rights

Korean Pharmacists for Democratic Society

Korean Square of Reunification

Labor Human Rights Center

People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD)

Solidarity for Worker’s Health

Solidarity of Buddhist’s Peace Movement

South Headquarters of Pan-Korean Alliance for Reunification