Dear Editor: Free trade agreements have always promised to deliver prosperity, but the reality is that they historically have been a bad deal for American workers and farmers, resulting in overall job and revenue losses. These agreements typically increase imports rather than open up new markets for U.S. goods. The Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement appears to be no different.
As predicted by the U.S. International Trade Commission and the Economic Policy Institute, the Korea-U.S. FTA would lead to a net loss of 159,000 American jobs and increase our trade deficit by $16 billion over the next seven years.
Another weakness of the agreement is the lack of provisions to safeguard against currency manipulation. According to the U.S. Treasury Department, South Korea has had a history of undervaluing their currency, which could eliminate any financial benefits for U.S. exports.
Additionally, this trade agreement does not adequately meet the standards of the International Labor Organization Conventions or meet U.S. standards for health, environment and food safety, all of which are cornerstones of WFU’s policies. Also, U.S. trade agreements prohibit the use of “Buy America” and “Buy Local” procurement policies with respect to food and other products.
It is for these reasons that WFU strongly opposes the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and urges Congress to do the same. We feel our legislative leaders should be protecting and promoting American jobs, family farms and our rural communities through sound economic, environmental and labor policies. We don’t think this trade agreement adequately promotes these values.
Darin Von Ruden
Wisconsin Farmers Union president