WASHINGTON—June 1—As trade negotiators from the United States and South Korea begin free trade talks on June 5, American and Korean workers, farmers and legislators will voice their opposition to the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) at a congressional press conference on June 7, 2006, 10 AM at the Cannon Terrace, Washington, DC.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), sponsor of the briefing, says, “Once again Washington is ready to pass another trade agreement that benefits multinational corporations at the expense of workers and the environment. It is urgent that we end this race to the bottom and work for trade agreements that respect workers’ rights, human rights and environmental principles. I look forward to the briefing and working to stop this bad trade agreement.” Reps. Marcy Kaptur (OH) and John Conyers (MI) are also slated to address the bi-national delegation.
Co-organized by the Korea Policy Institute and the Oakland Institute, prominent Korean leaders representing labor, farm and parliament will speak on the impact that the proposed trade agreement will have on Korean society and economy.
“The proposed FTA will dramatically expand the failed model of NAFTA,” says Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of the Oakland Institute and trade expert, “wreaking havoc on American and Korean workers, farmers, and their families. We have come together to form a unified front to stop the free trade agenda from moving forward without peoples consent.”
“Unless the proposed FTA includes significant labor, agriculture, and environmental protections, it is difficult to imagine how the FTA could possibly benefit workers and family farmers in either nation” says Dr. Thomas Kim, Executive Director of the Korea Policy Institute. “Extensive and organized opposition is already building in Seoul, and they are finding willing partners to take up the fight in Washington.” Koreans will be joined by U.S. representatives from the 35,000-member United Electrical Workers Union and the National Family Farm Coalition.
The Korean delegation to address Congress, which is still awaiting U.S. visas to be issued includes: Young Koo Heo, Vice President, Korean Confederation of Trade Unions; Jai Kwan Choi, Policy Chair, Korean Peasants League; Jeong Ok Yi, General Secretary, Korean Women Peasants Association; Ki Kab Kang, Member of Parliament, Korean Democratic Labor Party.