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United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SHERMAN. It looks like the only thing Congress is going to do this year about jobs is to ship them overseas. Trade adjustment assistance is being authorized tomorrow, but not a penny is being appropriated tomorrow; and any penny that is appropriated will, no doubt, be taken from health and education spending necessary without the trade agreements.

This South Korean Free Trade Agreement will increase our trade deficit by tens of billions of dollars, and every billion dollars of increase in our trade deficit costs us tens of thousands of jobs. The agreement is being sold as if goods made in South Korea are the only goods that are going to come into our country. That's wrong in three ways.

First, if goods are 65 percent made in China, 35 percent finished in South Korea, they come into our country duty free; and that 35 percent of the work done in South Korea can be done by Chinese workers living in barracks in South Korea, so the goods may not ever be touched by a South Korean.

We are going to be talking in this Congress, I hope, about Chinese currency manipulation. There are proposals that would impose tariffs on Chinese goods. This South Korean agreement is a prebuilt loophole in anything we try to do with China over currency manipulation. They manipulate their currency. They make 65 percent of the goods in China. They ship them to South Korea. They come in free to the United States without having to worry about our tariffs or our sanctions against their currency manipulation.

Second, goods that are 65 percent made in North Korea, 35 percent made in South Korea have a right to come in under this agreement; but we have an executive order that will bar them at our ports, so we will be in violation of this agreement on the first day. That means South Korea can impose sanctions and take away whatever benefits you think we're going to get under this agreement.


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