The Korea Free Trade Agreement

The Korea Free Trade Agreement — the largest trade deal of its type since NAFTA — could be introduced for a vote in Congress at any moment.  Please take action to oppose it now.

Labor, environmental, family farm and consumer groups — as well as many Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle — are all outspoken critics of the Korea Free Trade Agreement.

See a list of opposition statements here.

Some of the problems with this massive, new NAFTA-style trade deal include . . .

More Job Loss. The federal government’s own International Trade Commission predicts that the Korea FTA will increase the overall U.S. trade deficit.  More imports than exports means additional job loss for the United States.  The Economic Policy Institute predicts that, should the FTA move forward, Korean imports will displace some 888,000 American jobs within just seven years, with the FTA itself directly responsible for a net 159,000 job losses.

Foreign Investor Rights. The investment chapter still affords foreign investors greater rights than those enjoyed by U.S. investors. The “supplement agreement” on the Korea FTA failed to change a single word of its original investment chapter, which promotes offshoring and subjects domestic environmental, zoning, health and other public interest policies to challenge by foreign investors in international tribunals. The Korea FTA also allows challenges to timber, mining, construction and other concession contracts with the U.S. federal government.

Food Safety Provisions. The amended text does not address limits on imported food safety and inspection. These FTAs still contain language requiring the United States to accept imported food that does not meet our safety standards.

Procurement Provisions. The Korea FTA procurement rules subject many common federal and state procurement policies to challenge in trade tribunals and directly forbid other common procurement policies. These procurement rules continue the NAFTA/CAFTA ban on anti-offshoring and Buy America policies and expose U.S. renewable energy, recycled content and other environmental safety requirements to challenge.

Agriculture Provisions. The text does not address the problems in the NAFTA-style agriculture trade rules that have simultaneously undermined U.S. producers’ ability to earn a fair price for their crops at home and in the global market place. Multinational grain trading and food processing companies have made enormous profits while farmers on both ends have been hurt. Continuing this model is projected to increase hunger; illicit drug cultivation; undocumented migration; and continue the race to the bottom for commodity prices, pitting farmer against farmer and country against country to see who can produce food the cheapest, regardless of standards on labor, the environment or food safety.

Access to Medicines. While the amended text of these FTAs removes the most egregious, CAFTA-based, provisions limiting the access to affordable medicines, the text still includes NAFTA provisions that undermine the right to affordable medicines for poorer countries contained in the WTO’s Doha Declaration.

Learn about more of the most pressing problems with the Korea FTA.

Reports & Fact Sheets
Twelve Things to Know about the Korea Free Trade Agreement Citizens Trade Campaign, January 2011
The Korea FTA’s Inadequate Auto Provisions Threaten U.S. Jobs Citizens Trade Campaign, January 2011
Environmental Issue Brief on the Korea FTA Friends of the Earth, June 2011
Korea Trade Deal’s Negative Impact on U.S. Agriculture Global Trade Watch, May 12, 2011
How the Korea FTA Could Provide New Revenue for the North Korean Dictatorship Global Trade Watch, March 31, 2011
Textile Industry Encourages NO Vote on Korea FTA National Council of Textile Organizations, July 7, 2011
Letter to Congress Opposing the KORUS FTA International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, June 30, 2011

Welcoming a New Day on Trade and Globalisation Policy: Comments on the Korea Free Trade Agreement Citizens Trade Campaign, September 10, 2009
Radio Program: Labour vs. US-Korea Free Trade Agreement Women’s International News Gathering Service (Windows Media Player Required)
The United States Needs a New Pro-Environment Trade Policy Amazon Watch, American Lands Alliance, ForestEthics, Greenpeace USA, Rainforest Action Network, October 5, 2007
IBEW Legislative Fact Sheet on Trade August 2007
Trade Deficit in Food Safety Public Citizen, July 2007
Evaluation of the Korea-U.S. FTA The Korean Alliance against the Korea-U.S. FTA, June 11, 2007
The US-Korea Free Trade Agreement, Annex 22-B: A Missed Opportunity on Workers’ Rights in North Korea Human Rights Watch, August 2, 2007

Also check out our Korea FTA News Archive