Statement on Rep. Schrader’s Support for the Korea Free Trade Agreement

For Immediate Release
Thursday, July 8, 2010

Statement on Congressman Schrader and the Obama Administration’s Support for the Korea Free Trade Agreement
by Arthur Stamoulis, Director, Oregon Fair Trade Campaign

“The Bush administration negotiated and signed the Korea Free Trade Agreement three years ago, but was never able to get it through Congress.  There’s no way voters will put up with Congress passing this job-killing trade deal now.

“This is an old-model trade pact that dwarfs anything President Bush was able to get pass during his eight years in office.  The U.S International Trade Commission and others predict the Korea agreement will increase the trade deficit, and we have no doubt it will end up costing Oregon high-tech jobs at a time when the state can least afford to lose them.

“Congressman Schrader has angered his constituents by speaking out in support of Bush-negotiated trade deals that will cost his district jobs.  We want to make sure the Obama administration doesn’t head down that same dangerous path.

“In May 2008, then-Senator Obama told us through a candidate questionnaire that he opposed the Korea Free Trade Agreement and that he would support a range of important trade policy reforms if elected president.  Introducing the Korea Free Trade Agreement as written would represent the complete polar opposite of those campaign commitments.

“Oregon needs jobs, not job-killing trade deals.  This state simply cannot afford any more business-as-usual trade pacts that force local employers to compete with companies taking advantage of lower labor and environmental costs overseas.  The sooner our elected officials get that message, the better off everyone will be.”


BACKGROUND: On June 26, President Obama announced that he plans to introduce the Bush-negotiated Korea Free Trade Agreement for a vote in Congress after the upcoming elections — something freshman Congressman Kurt Schrader has been encouraging him to do.  Labor leaders, fair trade advocates and the unemployed held a picket today outside a fundraising reception for Congressman Schrader featuring Vice President Joe Biden, the highest-ranking Obama administration official to visit the state since taking office.

President Obama’s completed candidate questionnaire for the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign is online at:

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