Coalition urges Walz to reconsider support for corporate-backed trade deal with South Korea
In a disappointing deviation from his traditional support for working families, Minnesota Congressman Tim Walz announced today he will vote in favor of the pending South Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. The job-killing trade pact is a sweetheart deal for Wall Street and multinational corporations. Similar trade agreements of the past like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have shown to be economically hostile to regular Americans, small businesses and family farms.
Weighed on its own merit, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) predicts the South Korea pact will increase our country’s overall trade deficit. The net effect will be more job losses — namely living wage manufacturing jobs lost because of imports and offshoring. Minnesota agriculture is not exempt from taking a hit; the ITC study predicts a net revenue loss in the hundreds of millions of dollars for southern Minnesota alone.
While family farms are at risk, roughly 57,000 Minnesotans including over 12,000 in Congressman Walz’s district work in industries that have been deemed at-risk to being off-shored or displaced due to imports should the South Korea deal pass. Many of those jobs are in high-tech fields that require post-secondary education – the so-called “jobs of the future.”
Small and medium-sized businesses and a large number of domestic manufacturers have also opposed the South Korea deal, stating it will only serve the interests of Korea and other Asian countries, like China, where many product contents will come from.
Trade should be a means for lifting up working families, not bringing them down as the South Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement will do. The Minnesota Fair Trade Coalition expresses its disappointment in Congressman Walz’s position and strongly urges him to reconsider before the upcoming vote.