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US Democrats Urge ‘Major Changes’ to FTA With Korea

Posted July. 24, 2010 11:02,   


More than 100 lawmakers of the U.S. Democratic Party have urged “major changes” to the free trade agreement with Korea.

In a letter to President Barack Obama Thursday, Maine Congressman Mike Michaud and 108 other members of the House of Representatives said the agreement has issues not only in automobiles and beef but also in non-tariff barriers such as textiles, financial services, investment and labor.

They said they will not support the deal in its current form because it is a North American Free Trade Agreement-style agreement negotiated under the previous George W. Bush administration.

“At a time when our economy is struggling to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression, it is unthinkable to consider moving forward with another job-killing FTA,” the letter said.

Implementing the deal without making “major changes” will exacerbate the U.S. trade deficit and significantly undermine the U.S. manufacturing base, they said.

The free trade deal is a topic of tough debate for the Democrats after Obama said late last month that he wants to finalize the deal before November`s Group of 20 summit in Seoul for presentation to Congress for ratification early next year.

Separately, 10 Democratic or independent senators, including Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, recently sent a letter to Obama backing the trade deal with Seoul.

In the letter, the senators said the agreement will contribute to job creation and economic recovery in the U.S. by increasing American exports to Korea and having strategic effects, including strengthening of the bilateral alliance and maintaining U.S. influence in Asia.

Late last year, 88 Democratic and Republican legislators urged Congress to quickly ratify the trade agreement.