Cartoon: Korea Free Trade Will Stifle American Workers

Korea Free Trade will only tighten the global supply chain throttling the American worker


Multi-national U.S. corporations and the supply chain they have created in countries like South Korea are one step closer to further stifling American workers. The White House struck a deal last week with House Republicans to submit the seriously flawed South Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) to Congress in exchange for reinstated benefits for workers whose jobs were shipped overseas (the equally-flawed Colombia and Panama FTAs were also part of that deal). Congressional debate is underway.

But Congress must refrain from passing KORUS. And it’s up to working families to make sure they don’t. Why?

  • Less jobs. KORUS will open the door for multi-national corporations that have already shipped thousands of jobs overseas to ship even more jobs overseas.
  • Under KORUS, those same corporations can continue avoiding paying U.S. taxes.
  • Under KORUS, South Korea can manufacture a product using 65 percent Chinese parts, Mexican parts and possibly even parts made in the sweatshops of North Korea – and still call it “Made in South Korea.” South Korea benefits, China benefits, Mexico benefits, and possibly even North Korea. Meanwhile, America sinks further and further into debt. The U.S. will likely lose its top spot as the “world’s biggest economy” by 2030.
  • Small and medium businesses in the U.S. parts and supply industry – especially as it relates to cars, electronics, shipbuilding, etc. – could also be hard hit. They won’t be able to compete. They, too, will be waving goodbye to their businesses as they are shipped overseas.
  • And, KORUS fails to include strong, effective and enforceable labor standards. In other words, American consumers could soon be purchasing goods manufactured by workers who do not have the right to form a labor union, engage in collective bargaining, and who have been subjected to discrimination, long hours, low pay, hazardous working conditions and abuse.

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