The Korea Trade Deal Is Lose-Lose

Extrait de: The Korea Trade Deal Is Lose-Lose, Lori Wallach. The Huffington Post, February 15, 2011

The Obama administration's effort to convince Congress to pass a NAFTA-style trade pact with South Korea on foreign relations and national security grounds took a beating last month when a large delegation of Korean opponents of the pact came to Washington.

The administration has defaulted early on to the standard argument of last resort -- foreign policy -- because even the notoriously trade-pact-boosterish U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has concluded that the Korea agreement will increase the overall U.S. trade deficit and undermine the prospects for seven diverse manufacturing sectors here.

Finally, the Korean union members on the delegation clearly shocked many of their audiences with their stories of how South Korean labor laws allow for strikers to be arrested for, well, striking and also allow individual strikers to be sued for compensation by their employers for lost profits. They also explained why Korean unions, including the unions representing auto workers, opposed the agreement -- even though the USITC study showed that the U.S. deficit in autos and auto parts would increase by at least $531 million under the pact.

What is the issue? The FTA allows its benefits to accrue to autos that contain only 35 percent U.S. or Korean content. That is to say, cars with 65 percent Chinese content would be considered "Korean" or "American" and newly obtain duty free access. The Korean unions -- and, as it turns out, all but a few U.S. unions -- have honed in on that provision's massive incentive to outsource car part, steel, glass, rubber and other auto supply chain jobs. Even NAFTA had a 50 percent domestic content rule. Korea's pact with the European Union requires 55 percent.

The bottom line for the U.S.-South Korea FTA is that some large U.S., Korean -- and Chinese -- multinational firms could gain at the expense of the majority of people in both countries. We've seen this movie before; it was called NAFTA, and it ended badly for most of us.

Évidemment, ce qu’il ne faut pas faire pour satisfaire les multinationales, et si ça crée du chômage dans les pays industriels ce n’est pas grave, aussi longtemps que mes actionnaires soient contents.