Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL), a member of the House Trade Working Group, today released the following statement in response to President Obama's announcement at the G-20 summit that he would seek ratification of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) before his November visit to Seoul.
"I am disappointed that just as the economy is emerging from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, we would even consider the Korea FTA. Without fail, every Administration in my adult life regardless of party has pushed unfair trade. President Obama made the unpopular but necessary decision to provide aid to the auto industry last year. But if he is successful in ratifying an unfair trade agreement with Korea, it will reverse much of the progress that has been made. America's auto industry and workforce are finally back on their feet. This trade agreement, even if it is retooled, would knock them down again. The Korea FTA would give Korean automakers open access to the U.S. market without requiring Seoul to dismantle its non-tariff barriers that have kept the Korean market virtually closed to U.S. built automotive products. As a reminder, Korea exported 476,833 cars to the United States in 2009 while U.S. carmakers sold only 5,878 in Korea. As a result, our automotive trade deficit with Korea now stands at $7.8 billion. I'm all for bipartisanship. But my district can't afford any more bad bipartisan trade deals. Instead we need a deal that actually works for ordinary people."