Korean Alliance Against the Korea-US FTA
For Immediate Release: Contact: Heesob Nam - +82-10-9981-1180, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jan. 27, 2011 Mi-kyung Ryu - +82-10-9279-7106, email@example.com
Joint Statement of Korean lawmakers, labor unions, farmers and civil society groups on the proposed Korea-U.S. FTA
We came to Washington to share our strong view that the proposed KorUS FTA should not enter into force for the following reasons:
First, the proposed KorUS FTA shrinks the policy space available to our governments to promote the public interest and endangers our governments’ ability to protect public services and advance public health, food safety, workers’ and small farmers’ rights, and environmental preservation. Numerous provisions contained in the KorUS FTA conflict with the public interest policies upon which the general public relies while providing new rights and powers to a narrow class of large multinational corporations in each of our countries. While there could be a good agreement between our countries, this agreement undermines the broad interests of the people of the U.S. and the people of Korea in favor of promoting the interests of a narrow band of big corporations. In particular, the investor-state dispute procedure allows private corporations, even third-party corporations doing business either in Korea or the U.S., to bring our government to the foreign arbitration tribunals to demand compensation over public policy standards, even those that apply to domestic and foreign corporations alike. We do not understand why such a provision would be included in the KorUS FTA, given both countries have well-established rules of law and well functioning courts. Such provisions were not included in the U.S.-Australia FTA.
Third, the proposed agreement promotes reckless deregulation. This agreement was negotiated prior to the financial crisis that hit the world several years ago. It promotes the very practices of financial deregulation that have so damaged the U.S. and Korean economy. The agreement conflicts with regulations that our two governments have put in place to stabilize their financial markets, posing a threat to our countries, our economic partners, and eventually to the global economy. In the aftermath of the global economic crisis, certainly we must ensure that all policies, including our “trade” agreements must preserve our governments’ authority to control and regulate investment and financial markets. However, both governments simply ignored the lessons we learnt a few years ago even when they re-negotiated the deal last year and did not alter these provisions to reflect the post-crisis lessons.
Finally, the proposed agreement has the potential to bring about an unintended harmful effect on the relationship between the U.S. and Korea. While proponents claim that the proposed agreement will strengthen our countries’ relationship, it carries the potential to have the opposite effect. Many in Korea view the agreement as having been pushed not only for economic relations. Geopolitics played a great role. The supplemental deal of the last year was struck when the military tension between the South and North Koreas was at its highest since the 1950s’ Korean War. The vast majority of Korean people believe that the outcome of the supplemental deal is an unacceptable humiliation and an overly high price to pay for the Americans’ role in providing national defense. Furthermore, if the KorUS FTA results in restricted to access to public service, job loss, deterioration of quality of life and intensified social polarization as have taken place with NAFTA in North America, the anger over the damage will be directed at the other country. When this happens, the KorUS FTA would bring conflict rather than strengthening the sense of friendship towards the other country among the ordinary people of both countries.
· Jung Bae Chun, Jong Kul Lee, and Ki Kab Kang, representing the Korean National Assembly Members’ Caucus Against the Korea-US FTA
· Heesob Nam, Hae-Young Lee, and Won Suk Park, representing the Korean Alliance Against the Korea-US FTA
· Hui-seong Jung, Mi-kyung Ryu, Ja-O Koo, Sang-je Kim, and Joo-ho Lee, representing the Korean Confederation of Trade Union
· Kwang Seok Lee and Hye Sook, representing the Korean National Small Farmers’ Group
Chief Member of Policy Committee
Korean Alliance against KorUS FTA
Mobile: +82 10 9981 1180
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