The United Steelworkers (USW) issued the following statement by its International Executive Board today after concluding an extensive examination of the terms of the proposed agreement:
“The Obama Administration has now concluded negotiations with the government of South Korea on the revised terms of the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement. The revisions fought for by the President, United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Chairman Sander Levin and the team of officials working on the negotiations are important improvements on the terms agreed to by the Bush Administration and deserve recognition. Since the conclusion of negotiations last week, the United Steelworkers (USW) union has carefully examined the terms of the agreement, the underlying trade relationship between our two countries and the competitive postures of our economies. After thorough review, the USW Executive Board views the agreement as falling far short of what is necessary to ensure that U.S. workers and businesses have a fair deal.
This was not an easy decision as the Obama Administration has made effective implementation and enforcement of trade laws and agreements a priority. Their efforts have advanced the interests of USW members in the steel, tire, green technology and other important sectors. Their record in these areas represents a fundamental change in the administration of trade policy and is deeply appreciated.
Over the past several months, since President Obama announced his intention to conclude negotiations on an FTA with South Korea, the USW has been deeply involved in discussions and consultations with the Administration, Congressional leaders and others regarding how the Bush FTA could be improved to ensure that workers would truly share in the benefits of an enhanced trade relationship. We have not only provided specific proposals but also have discussed those terms and alternative approaches to achieve our goals. The President’s team showed a true willingness to discuss our concerns, and their open consultations with us are truly appreciated ... more