AFL-CIO Opposes Korea Free Trade Deal

By Genevieve Long Belmaker
Epoch Times Staff
Created: December 9, 2010 Last Updated: December 9, 2010
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he AFL-CIO, the largest union organization in the U.S., is against a proposed free trade agreement with South Korea.

The organization's president, Richard Trumka, issued a statement on Thursday on the AFL-CIO website in opposition to the deal.

"For more than a decade, the labor movement, environmental groups, development advocates and others have advocated for a new trade policy that is part of a more coordinated and coherent national economic strategy," said Trumka in the statement. "The proposed U.S.-Korea trade deal does not live up to that model and does not contribute to a sustainable global future."

While the AFL-CIO said they appreciate the efforts of the Obama administration and leaders in Congress, they say they remain concerned about market access, safeguarding provisions and some non-tariff barriers for autoworkers and auto companies.

Trumka added that the deal raises fundamental questions about fair and balanced trade policy, pointing out that "the labor movement has consistently and for many years argued that the investment and government procurement provisions in the Korea deal will encourage offshoring."

The AFL-CIO is also concerned that workers in the U.S. and South Korea are faced with problems about their rights to exercise "fundamental human rights on the job—especially freedom of association and the right to organize and bargain collectively."

Currency manipulation is another problem Trumka pointed out in his statement against the deal, noting what he called "lax provisions on rule of origin."

"So long as these agreements fall short of protecting the broad interests of American workers and their counterparts around the world in these uncertain economic times, we will oppose them," said Trumka.


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