Korea Free Trade Agreement

| February 10, 2011 Print


Call your Member of Congress: ask them to Vote against Ratification of the South Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement


In South Korea, despite massive economic growth in the cities, a large income gap remains between the industrial and agricultural sectors. South Korea is a high-cost agricultural producer and therefore its products simply cannot compete against unrestricted imports of U.S. goods. If the treaty is passed, 130,000 farmers are expected to lose their only source of income.

Today the United States’ industrial base is declining as corporations focus on maximizing profits by shipping jobs overseas. The North-American Free Trade Agreement helped exacerbate this exodus by eliminating tariffs that protected U.S. industry and jobs. The KORUS FTA would only continue to aggravate these problems. Economists predict that this treaty will cause the loss of 159,000 jobs domestically at a time when the nation’s economy is struggling to get back on its feet.

In Korea, we have a moral obligation to respect the integrity of all workers, not just those at the top of  corporations. Catholic social teaching teaches us to ensure that our laws do not infringe upon the rights of those in need.  According to Isaiah 10:1-2, “Woe to those who enact unjust statutes and who write oppressive decrees, depriving the needy of judgment and robbing my people’s poor of their rights.” Therefore, we cannot endorse a bill that puts the livelihoods of so many people at risk.

KORUS FTA was signed by President Bush and Korean President Roh Moo-hyun in June 2007, however Congress refused to ratify the treaty. Now, President Obama has expressed renewed commitment to the treaty and has signed an updated version that he hopes to pass. Your voice needs to be heard in order to compel your Member of Congress to make the right choice.



A sample letter can be found below.

To write, find contact information for the Senate here: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

And here for the House:



Here is a sample letter you can borrow and/or adapt:

Dear Senator/Representative _______,

I write to you as a constituent and a person of faith concerned about the possible economic impact of the South Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement.  I urge you to vote against the treaty because of its harmful effects on both U.S. and Korean employment. My faith teaches that we must protect the right of workers around the world to earn a decent living and that our laws must not infringe upon that right.

South Korean farmers, which already have a disproportionately lower income to the rest of their nation, would face widespread unemployment as Korea’s high-cost farming techniques cannot compete with U.S. products. In addition, economists predict that the act will increase unemployment in the United States by a net loss of 159,000 jobs, mainly in the manufacturing sector. Our country’s industrial base has already declined substantially due to the North American Free Trade Agreement. We simply cannot allow this trend to increase, especially at a time when unemployment remains so high. My faith teaches solidarity with people around the world and therefore I urge you not to support this act that has the potential to inflict such harm on so many.

The Columban Center for Advocacy & Outreach
Michelle Melcher Knight