Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Representing Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers, Maryknoll Sisters, and Maryknoll Lay Missioners
  • Sri Lanka children - Jim Stipe
  • Golden calf on Wall Street
  • Seedbag
  • Altar in Palestine - R Rodrick Beiler
  • corn bags

Compare the Korea FTA to the TRADE Act

Trade policies reforms in the TRADE (Trade Reform, Accountability, Development, and Employment) Act:

Does the Korea FTA meet these standards?

Investment rules:

Foreign investors should not have greater rights than those provided in U.S. law, and our public interest laws should not be exposed to challenge by foreign investors in secret tribunals.

NO. The investment chapter still affords foreign investors greater rights than those enjoyed by U.S. investors. Not one word was changed in the Korea FTA’s foreign investor chapters that promote off-shoring, and subject our domestic environmental, zoning, health and other public interest policies to challenge by foreign investors in foreign tribunals. The Korea FTA also allows challenges by foreign investors in foreign tribunals of timber, mining, construction and other concession contracts with the U.S. federal government.
Service sector:

Extreme deregulation of service sectors, such as seen with Enron in California, resulted in market crises. We must ensure the lessons learned nationally are also conveyed in future trade policy: Agreements must preserve the right for governments to maintain essential public services and regulate private sector services in the public interest.

NO. The Korea FTA will threaten the nearly 300 public enterprises remaining in Korea through a number of vague provisions that will likely result in numerous lawsuits to challenge their existence. Telecommunications provisions will certainly result in further concentration in ownership. A number of the financial reforms recently passed by the U.S. Congress could be undermined by the agreement.
Government procurement:

Federal, state, and local governments’ ability to use procurement as a policy tool, including Buy American laws, environmental standards (such as recycled content), and purchasing preferences for small, minority or women-owned businesses, must be safeguarded.

NO. The Korea FTA procurement rules subject many common federal and state procurement policies to challenge in trade tribunals and directly forbid other common procurement policies. These procurement rules continue the NAFTA/CAFTA ban on anti‐off-shoring and Buy America policies and expose U.S. renewable energy, recycled content and other environmental safety requirements to challenge.

Food safety:

Food imports should only be allowed from countries that meet or surpass U.S. safety regulations.

NO. The amended text does not address limits on imported food safety and inspection. The Korea FTA still contain language requiring the United States to accept imported food that does not meet our safety standards.

Prepared by David Kane, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Special thanks to Citizens’ Trade Campaign for source materials.

March 2011