American Style Free Trade - by Stephen Lendman
Agreements like NAFTA, DR-CAFTA, and various bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) have proved hugely destructive , superseding national laws, sovereignty, labor rights, environmental concerns, and more.
"There's no free collective bargaining for workers," says Ralph Nader. "There's no rule of law (either, just) bribery, (worker exploitation and plunder). These companies (can) pollute at will. There's no judicial independence to make (them) accountable," to stop them from "abus(ing) workers and consumers and communities, as" they all do repeatedly.
In other words, "free trade" is a license to steal, plunder, exploit, pollute, and overall operate unrestrained, the sole consideration being maximum profits, no matter how gotten.
As a result, level playing fields don't exist. Jobs are exported and destroyed. Corporate giants alone win, trade managed solely for their benefit. An Economic Policy Institute (EPI) study showed NAFTA-related imports cost America 879,280 jobs in its first decade, besides downward pressure on wages and benefits. Saying FTAs will create them is deceptive hooey, a big lie based on historical experience, instructive for Korean and American workers as Washington pressures Seoul for a deal, a KORUS-FTA.
If agreed, EPI estimates that imports will displace around 888,000 existing or potential US jobs by 2015, causing a net 322,000 loss, the differential over export produced ones. Obama said he wanted a Bush negotiated KORUS voted on by Congress by early 2011 the latest after unspecified modifications were made. However, the current text replicates NAFTA and DR-CAFTA, contradicting his promise to use trade as a vehicle to create jobs, assure worker rights, protect ecological sustainability, and ensure financial stability.
As in America, worker rights violations, for example, are widespread in Korea. Authorities use their "obstruction of business" law to imprison labor leaders and employers, often using police repressively against union activity. America is more subtle for similar results, organized labor here a shadow of its former self.
The 2007 KORUS text also prohibits restriction sizes of financial institutions or limitations on services they can provide. Moreover, there's no control over risk, speculative derivatives trading, or destabilizing capital flight. Yet both countries have since implemented new stability and regulatory measures, conflicting with the original agreement. Some of Korea's, however, were loosened, not tightened, and America's financial reform is more business as usual than change.