From Public Citizen:
The Bush administration notified Congress of its intent to launch negotiations on the Korea “free trade agreement” (FTA) on February 3, 2006, and formally began the negotiations on June 5, 2006. The agreement was signed and negotiations were concluded on June 30, 2007. In June 2010, the Obama administration announced plans to move on the FTA, but Congress and the public are demanding that the agreement be changed to be consistent with the fair-trade principles that President Obama promised during his campaign.
As it is currently written, the Korea FTA will promote further financial services deregulation – even after the hard lessons learned through the economic crisis. And it will be the first U.S. trade deal with a major capital exporter since NAFTA to include the extraordinary rights for foreign investors. These led to many corporate demands for taxpayer cash in challenges of U.S. and Canadian public interest regulations in foreign tribunals. There are over a hundred significant Korean investors in the U.S. that would have new rights under the FTA to challenge local, state and national laws.
- NEW (11/11/2010) – Press Release: Continuing Negotiations on Korea Trade Deal Are a Good Sign
- NEW (11/9/2010) – Memo: Bush’s NAFTA-Style Korea Free Trade Agreement Would Undermine Obama’s Campaign Trade Reform Commitments
- NEW (11/8/2010) – Memo: Survey of Studies on Potential Economic Effects of the Korea Free Trade Agreement Shows Rising Deficits and Job Losses
- (10/27/2010) – Memo: 2010 Election Focus on Trade and Job Offshoring Exposes Obama’s G-20 Political Peril: Pushing Bush’s Korea Trade Pact Endangers Obama’s Re-election
- Explore maps of corporations that could challenge local, state, and federal law under the Korea FTA!
From Dave Johnson…
Public Citizen points out that there are other problems with the agreement, that would lead to NAFTA-style job losses for Americans, if the treaty is ratified. The treaty was originally negotiated by the Bush administration, and contains the same kind of language that previous trade agreements contained, encouraging American companies to outsource jobs.
From David Dayen…
The US and South Korea are working on a revised free trade agreement that would differ somewhat from the original terms negotiated by George W. Bush’s Administration…
Democrats have been skeptical of claims that the deal will create jobs. In a joint letter last month to Mr. Obama and Mr. Lee, 20 House members and 35 Korean lawmakers called for strengthening health, labor and environmental standards in the agreement, echoing concerns raised by the A.F.L.-C.I.O. But neither government seems to want to revisit those terms.
Republicans broadly support the deal the Bush administration negotiated.
There’s much to figure out in the new ‘free trade’ deal (pdf) that Obama is eager to ink on behalf of his hoped-for 2012 campaign contributors, but Jane Hamsher points us to this:
The Korea FTA text contains the extreme investor rights that promote offshoring; the private enforcement of those rights that had led to serial attacks on domestic environmental, health, and other safeguards; a ban on Buy America; limits on financial service regulation ( recall, this is a 2007 pre-crisis text with all of the crazy extreme dereg language of past Bush FTAs) and more of the most damaging NAFTA-style provisions Obama promised to fix.
“Extreme investor rights” — has a nice ESPN ring to it; extreme sports for the golf-and-Viagra crowd.
That’s extreme foreign investor rights, by the way. Obama on the campaign trail:
“With regards to provisions in several FTAs that give foreign investors the right to sue governments directly in foreign tribunals, I will ensure that foreign investor rights are strictly limited and will fully exempt any law or regulation written to protect public safety or promote the public interest. And I will never agree to granting foreign investors any rights in the U.S. greater than those of Americans.”
Now, not so much. Jane adds (my emphasis):
The trade deal is seen as a sop to Korea so the US can maintain a military presence in the region. … Hillary Clinton has been pushing hard for the agreement, and its ratification is the fondest wish of the Chamber of Commerce. … It would be a truly horrific blow to whatever is left of American manufacturing at a time when unemployment is rampant. But from a political standpoint, fighting for another so-called “free trade” agreement right now has got to represent some kind of death wish for the Democratic party. I don’t have any other way to explain it.
A nice tight package of things to keep in mind: