News Release

Conflict Over U.S.-Korea Trade Deal


AP is reporting that “South Korea’s largest labor union escalated a strike Thursday against the country’s free trade agreement with the U.S. as the two governments tried to make last-minute changes to the deal before its scheduled signing later this week.”

Sin Moon Hee is with the Korean Women’s Peasants Alliance and is currently in Atlanta participating in the U.S. Social Forum. She said today: “The governments of the United States and South Korea are about to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that will seal the fate of Korean farmers and peasants. If passed, within 10 years South Korea’s agriculture will disappear and there will be no more farmers. The U.S. may be able to produce food cheaper, but food cannot be measured solely in economic terms. Farmers embody and practice Korea’s cultural life. In the past 10 years, the number of Korean farmers has declined from 6.5 million to 3.3 million. We are fighting the FTA not to just preserve our livelihoods and our right to grow food. We are fighting to preserve our culture and way of life.”

Christine Ahn is the national coordinator of Korean Americans for Fair Trade and a policy analyst at the Korea Policy Institute. She said today: “Given the effects of NAFTA on America’s manufacturing workers and Mexico’s farmers, ‘free traders’ can no longer simply tout the miracles of neoliberal economics. Over 1 million workers in the U.S. lost their good-paying manufacturing jobs to now earn 23 percent less in the service sector.”
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For more information, contact the Institute for Public Accuracy at (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan at (541) 484-9167.