Revised US/S. Korea Free Trade Agreement
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Hold the cheers! Trump touted KORUS tweeting: “A great deal for American and Korean workers. Let’s now focus on our important security relationship.”
The history of US free trade agreements shows they’re hugely unfair, secretly drafted by corporate lawyers and lobbyists, one-sidedly benefitting monied interests at the expense of consumers.
America’s manufacturing deficit with South Korea grew exponentially since implementation of the US/Korea free trade agreement (FTA) – concluded in April 2007, a renegotiated version concluded in December 2010.
America has trade agreements with Canada, Mexico, Israel, Jordan, Australia, Chile, Singapore, Bahrain, Morocco, Oman, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia and South Korea.
They’ve resulted in millions of lost US high-pay and other jobs to low-wage countries, systematically thirdworldizing the nation, transforming it into the rotten reality of low-pay, poor or no-benefit, often temp or part-time jobs – workers struggling to get by, millions of others unemployed because of offshoring.
Commenting on KORUS revisions, Global Trade Watch director Lori Wallach said the following:
“Despite the touted 10,000 tariff cuts and promises of more exports, more jobs, our deficit almost doubled in the FTA’s first five years as US agricultural exports declined and a flood of Korean cars were shipped here.”
“It’s unclear how the proposed changes to the pact itself would reverse the doubling of our Korea trade deficit under KORUS, but the new currency agreement could make a difference if it has teeth, delaying the US tariff cuts on Korean trucks could stop the big imbalance from getting even worse, and the parallel steel agreement is significant.”
“The limited revisions to KORUS do not the promised new American trade agreement model make, which puts added pressure on NAFTA renegotiations to deliver a deal that eliminates the job outsourcing incentives in our past trade deals and adds strong labor and environmental standards with swift and certain enforcement.”
“Success on many key issues that were not addressed at all in this deal – such as the elimination of job outsourcing incentives and the controversial ISDS tribunals, the tightening of automobile rules of origin, and the addition of strictly enforced labor and environmental standards – will determine if a renegotiated NAFTA can get the bipartisan support necessary to get it passed.”
From 2007 – 2012 under KORUS, US exports to S. Korea declined by $3.7 billion, imports increasing by $8.1 billion.
Average US monthly exports to S. Korea fell in nine of 15 categories – autos, agriculture, machinery and computer/electronic products hardest hit.
Over the five-year period, the US trade deficit with S. Korea increased by 85%. US service sector exports to the country grew more slowly since KORUS was adopted.
The FTA has been a win for S. Korea, a loss for US workers and consumers.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”