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November 4, 2010

Tea Party Test: Korea Free Trade Agreement

-- by Dave Johnson

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture as part of the Making It In America project. I am a Fellow with CAF.

The "Tea Party" will face many tests when the new Congress convenes next year. Everyone is asking, how long will it take before the Tea Party officeholders are co-opted by the big money insiders? "Free Trade" is one of those tests.

Tea Party members absolutely despise "free trade" agreements that have forced companies to close factories and ship jobs out of the country. They want to see "Made In America" in stores again. But the D.C. insiders, backed by big money from the big, monopolist, multinational corporations, insist on even more of these agreements. Which way will the Tea Party officeholders go?

Next up: the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement. The D.C. insiders want this one bad. Tea Party supporters do not want any more of these job-sucking one-sided agreements. Who will win? Negotiated by Bush, this is another one-sided agreement, letting Korea export like crazy to the U.S., but not addressing non-tariff barriers that Korea places on bringing U.S.-made goods into their country. (Korea places regulatory and tax barriers to limit imports along with tariff barriers that the trade agreement addresses. So in effect we would be removing our tariff barriers on Korean imports, while they keep their other barriers to our exports.)

The Ford Motor Company placed an ad in Washington news outlets today, opposing the Korea agreement:

Ford_free_trade_ad

Click to go to the ad, as well as to information from Ford.

Ford's concern is autos, but there are many other concerns as well. Take a look at what American beef producers say about this agreement.

This is one more one-sided trade agreement designed to let Wall Street-dominated firms outsource manufacturing and jobs, so they can further squeeze American workers and make short-term profits and bonuses from selling off American capacities and technologies. They are selling off our country's and our people's ability to make a living, to put a few quick bucks in their own pockets.

Trade is good. Honest, free and fair trade brings prosperity to everyone involved. Unfortunately, the kind of one-sided, exploitative trade deals that have been negotiated in the past might have made a few elites very rich in the short term but are impoverishing everyone else. The trick is negotiating better "We, the People" outcomes rather than the "shut up and take it or we'll move your job out of the country" outcomes that have allowed the wealthy elite to set working people here against working people there.

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Posted by Dave Johnson at November 4, 2010 11:43 AM


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