Forget the FTA Fix, Just Say No
( International Trade and Development )
Picture Credit: chinadaily.com
If the US Congress and the South Korean parliament approve the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), public power in both countries will be weakened and corporate power strengthened – at the expense of public needs and capacities. Free trade reinforces the very same trends that generated the economic crisis. US President Obama speaks of the FTA “creating new jobs and opportunities for people in both countries” but without mentioning the possibility of wage reductions, deregulation and negative environmental consequences.
October 1, 2010 Foreign Policy In Focus
The free trade push has begun again. Both U.S. President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak are calling for ratification of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, which was signed by the two countries’ trade representatives in April 2007 but has yet to be approved by either the U.S. Congress or the South Korean parliament. Aware of how unpopular the agreement remains, President Obama wants the U.S. Congress to delay the approval vote until after the mid-term elections in early November but before the mid-November G-20 meeting in Seoul.
The Great Recession has left the U.S. economy in a mess. Slowly but surely people are coming to understand that we are in this mess because of a number of inter-related trends, all driven by increasingly unchecked corporate power: wage suppression, deregulation and globalization of production, and financialization.
It is therefore dismaying to hear President Obama announce that the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, which is designed to further enhance corporate power, will somehow “create new jobs and opportunity for people in both our countries.”
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