By Virgil Goode
Last week, the New York Times reported that Obama received received “rare bipartisan praise” from Republicans when he signed the South Korean Free Trade agreement, known as KORUS, last December. However Republicans stalled congressional approval of the agreement, largely because of “partisan feuding,” in part because Republicans want even more free trade agreements with Columbia and Panama.
While I am glad that KORUS is stalled, Republicans should oppose it on principle because it creates a globalist bureaucracy that will cost hundreds of thousands of American jobs, not because of partisan bickering over how quickly we expand these globalist agreements.
Republican supporters of KORUS claim that the agreement is about promoting capitalism, free markets, and free trade. The truth is that this agreement does not promote free markets. On the contrary, it will make American businesses more regulated.
KORUS is not even about free trade. If we wanted free trade, we would simply reduce our tariffs with Korea. Such a bill would be a few pages. KORUS is 1,000 pages long. My former colleagues Ron Paul (R-TX) and Walter Jones (R-NC) wrote that “Free trade theorists such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo must be rolling in their graves to see pacts like [KORUS] called ‘free trade.’”
Instead KORUS is about managed trade, which puts partial control of our economy in the hands of international bureaucrats.
Like other managed-trade agreements, KORUS gives special benefits to certain corporate and labor interests. For example, to get the support of the United Auto Workers Union, the agreement specifically requires Korea to change their internal environmental and safety regulations to fit these cars.
The flipside is that our own policies and sovereignty will be affected. KORUS sets up foreign tribunals under the jurisdiction of the World Bank and the United Nations where Korean companies operating in the United States can sue Americans outside of our jurisdiction.
Additionally, the treaty gives Obama unconstitutional authority to impose regulations under the treaty on state government. The National Council of State Legislators warned against the “effect that investor-state dispute resolution chapters have on American principles of federalism, state sovereignty, and state lawmakers’ ability to address the localized concerns of their constituents.”
Although ostensibly just a deal with Korea, KORUS will allow other countries to usurp our sovereignty by proxy. Chinese and other foreign companies could simply set up front corporations with up to a 65 percent of the ownership in South Korea and they too would be able to sue Americans in foreign tribunals.
This is not the first time we’ve proposed a managed-trade agreement. In the last two decades America has ratified the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Dominican Republic/Central American Free Trade Agreement, and the Singapore Free Trade Agreement.
Based on these past experiences, we also have reason to worry about increases in immigration from KORUS. Because the negotiations are hidden from the public, we will not know until the last minute, but all the previous FTAs have included increases in guest workers. With nearly 25 million Americans out of work, we do not need any more foreign workers.
The combination of mass immigration and globalist free trade was summed up by Pat Buchanan as “Exporting Jobs, Importing Workers.” The results are disastrous for the American worker.
NAFTA, CAFTA, and the other FTAs have led to the loss of hundreds of thousands of American jobs and the erosion of sovereignty has led to a slippery slope with the globalists trying to go a step further with the NAFTA Superhighway. We should remember that the European Union began as a free trade agreement.
A quote commonly misattributed to both Ben Franklin or Albert Einstein, but insightful nonetheless, defines insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.” After the disastrous results of NAFTA, it would be literally insane for Republicans to side with the Obama administration in surrendering our sovereignty.
Virgil Goode Represented Virginia’s 5th Congressional District from
1997 through 2009.