President Obama recently announced plans to push the Korea Free trade Agreement immediately after the November elections. This Bush-negotiated pact is the biggest free trade agreement since NAFTA itself. If passed, it will accelerate the offshoring of Oregon jobs, expose the state's environmental laws to new forms of attack and prohibit the type of banking regulations needed to head of the next financial crisis.
Following an introduction to the issue by Arthur Stamoulis, Executive Director of Oregon Fair Trade Campaign, three speakers take up different aspects of Free Trade in general and the Korea Free Trade Agreement in particular.
David Delk of Portland Alliance for Democracy discusses Investor Protection Clauses, which allow Corporations to sue governments for environmental and labor laws which inhibit their ability to make profits.
More Information on Portland Alliance for Democracy Website
Barbara Dudley, currently co chair of the Oregon Working Families Party, addresses Financial Service Agreements.
According to an article on the website Our World Is Not For Sale,
"While the financial crisis and its consequences are spreading around the world and even the most erstwhile 'free market' governments are discussing how to re-regulate the financial sector, bilateral and regional 'free trade' agreements continue extreme deregulation of the financial industry. The terms of these agreements prohibit countries from reforming their financial sector so as to remedy the financial, economic, environmental, food and social crises now growing, and from ensuring that finance is directed towards the transformation to sustainable societies."
Proponents of Free Trade Agreements often attempt to soften the effects of job loss by saying that the United States will gain higher paying high tech jobs. Mitch Besser, a displaced high tech worker, relates his experiences with high tech jobs being moved to China.
Further Information at Progressive Democrats of America
The time to stop the Korea FTA is short.
Following these speakers, Artur develops some strategies and tactics which could defeat this Agreement. This Korea FTA is expected to be introduced early in 2011, after the mid term elections and Christmas holidays.
This gives the Obama Administration just a few months to get it through Congress, before the beginning of the 2012 election campaign.
The video is 56 minutes in length. I've also broken up the Teach-In into the four separate presentations followed by the final summation which discusses strategies and tactics. Each of these individual talks are about 10 - 12 minutes in length.
Introduction to the Korea Free Trade Agreement
Korea Free Trade Agreement: Investor Protection Clauses
Korean Free Trade Agreement: Financial Services Agreement
Korean Free Trade Agreement: Displaced High-Tech Worker
Korean Free Trade Agreement: Strategies and Tactics
Article on the Korean Free Trade Agreement by Christine Ahn and Martin Hart-Landsberg
Christine Ahn is a policy and research analyst with the Global Fund for Women.
Martin Hart-Landsberg is a professor of economics at Lewis and Clark College.