Restoring U.S. domestic industry and jobs will require major U.S. initiatives.
That’s the main focus of the new Jobs Council chaired by GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt.
But he also needs to be alert to current U.S. government actions that can add to the huge challenge he already faces. He must try to restore thousands of closed factories and millions of lost U.S. jobs. But a severe new threat is the KORUS FTA -The Korea – U.S. Free Trade Agreement that’s nearing final approval in Congress. It’s the last thing America needs at this time of crisis. Mr. Immelt has said nothing about it pro or con.
The following is a partial list of the provisions in this disastrous one-sided agreement favoring Korea that vigilant Americans should protest now, including those with major clout and strong reasons like Mr. Immelt.
1. The KORUS FTA will export jobs and increase our trade deficit. We’re being promised by some that the KORUS FTA will create more American exports, but in reality it will only export American jobs. According to the Economic Policy Institute’s estimates, in the first seven years, the agreement will cost as many as 159,000 American jobs and increase our trade deficit by $16.7 billion. Others have said it would create 70,000 jobs (but mainly low-paid Americans working for foreign-owned companies at less than half what the lost jobs paid).
2. Prevention of takeovers of U.S. companies is greatly inhibited. Foreign monopolies will have more freedom to take over whole U.S. industries.
3. Korea will be able to in-source low wage jobs to its factories in the U.S., but American companies will not get the same access to South Korea.
4. South Korea will still be able to use barriers to trade that the U.S. doesn’t have, such as special tax breaks and subsidies. Korea has a 10 percent value added tax, while we give them tax-free access to our markets.
5. There is nothing in the KORUS FTA to stop South Korea’s often-used currency manipulating practices. We know how much admage that can cause from our experience with China.
Either our leaders aren’t reading what they’re signing or they’re being lobbied by special interests working against the most dire needs of the United States.
Kenneth N. Davis Jr.
President, Economic Strategy Associates, Inc.
Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce
Former IBM Corp. vice president and chief financial officer
Former investment banker
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Posted April 17, 2011 at 12:00 pm, in Free Speech Zone