With the G20 Summit getting under way this week in Seoul, South Korea, President Obama is expected to announce a new effort to pass the pending KORUS (South Korea-US) Free Trade Agreement. This would be the largest FTA passed since NAFTA and would represent a similar blow to family farmers and manufacturing workers in both countries, with the same assaults as NAFTA on environmental and labor standards and the very concept of national sovereignty. The only ones who would benefit would be big, transnational corporations that want to run rough-shod over the interests and democratic rights of communities and nations. The KORUS-FTA would serve to open the gates for passage of pending FTAs with Colombia and Panama.
We must not allow this FTA to come to a vote! With leadership coming from the White House, this is one effort that has significant bi-partisan support on Capitol Hill. But just as significantly, a majority of US voters oppose the FTA, across political divides. In 2008 when Barack Obama led Democrats to huge electoral victories, he promised to support fair trade over free trade and to renegotiate NAFTA. Who can doubt that Pres. Obama’s about-face hurt his Party in recent elections? Many Republicans have made similar promises and must have their feet held to the fire as well. Our warning to elected officials in Washington, DC: PASS THE KORUS FTA AT YOUR OWN POLITICAL PERIL!
There is only one reason these Bush-era, pending FTAs have not already been passed: because popular movements have waged virtual hand-to-hand combat against them. So far we have won battles–but not the war. Now is not the time to hold back. If we stop these FTAs again, it will be because we don’t let up. Now is not the time to wait and see–it’s the time to take action and charge!
The Alliance for Global Justice is committed to the battle in the trenches to beat these FTAs. We will be calling for action throughout the coming months until these battles are won. Please contact the White House today to oppose KORUS FTA!
The White House can be reached by telephone at:
Dear President Obama:
I am writing you to urge you to stand by your campaign promises and stop plans to pass the KORUS Free Trade Agreement with South Korea, as well as other pending FTAs with Colombia and Panama. KORUS would be the largest FTA since NAFTA–and we’ve seen what NAFTA brought: destruction of family farms in the US, Mexico and Canada, the erosion of environmental and labor standards, and an assault on community and national rights. These FTAs completely violate democratic intent by allowing corporations to use closed-door court proceedings to sue any nation that enacts laws restricting transnational development, including laws to guard against ecological contamination. Instead of advocating for these FTAs, you should push for passage of the Trade Reform, Accountability, Development, and Employment (TRADE) Act, which would subject trade agreements to review and establish labor, environmental and food and product safety standards.
President Obama, you were elected on an appeal for hope and change–and honesty, integrity and openness. The majority of US people, on all sides of the political spectrum, are opposed to these FTAs. When the time comes that you are asking us to vote for your reelection in 2012–not far away–let us remember how you kept your word, not how you broke it