Category Archives: Korea Trade Deal

Pat Buchanan Takes on Free Trade

Here’s one to warm the hearts of our old school paleo readers. (Is there such a thing as a new school paleo?) Pat Buchanan takes on free trade. Brings back memories, doesn’t it?

Since CHT worked hard to stop the Korea “Free Trade” Agreement, here is what Pat has to say about that.

What about South Korea, the country with whom we signed a free-trade deal in 2012?

U.S. exports to Korea fell last year, and due to a surge in imports our trade deficit in goods with South Korea soared 25 percent to $16.6 billion.

Seoul’s trade minister who cut that deal and cleaned our clock should get a medal and the kind of bonus Americans reserve for people like hedge fund managers and the folks who ran Fannie and Freddie.

The Free Trade Betrayal


Pat Buchanan exposes “Free Trade” agreements for what they are – one-sided deals for politically connected big business that enrich the few and impoverish the majority. It happened with NAFTA, says Pat, and now it’s happening with the Korean Free Trade agreement – just as the critics warned it would.

What should we demand from our trade policies? Pat puts it directly and simply: “Instead of a trade policy crafted for the benefit of multinationalist corporations, we need a new trade policy that puts America and Americans first.”

Of course, the internationalists of the left whoop with glee at the prospect of Americans being reduced to a Third-World standard of living. For them, equality is what it’s all about. No wonder Karl Marx supported Free Trade:

But, in general, the protective system of our day is conservative, while the free trade system is destructive. It breaks up old nationalities and pushes the antagonism of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie to the extreme point. In a word, the free trade system hastens the social revolution. It is in this revolutionary sense alone, gentlemen, that I vote in favor of free trade.
Karl Marx, “On the Question of Free Trade” – January 9, 1848

But putting “America First,” as Pat counsels above, is portrayed by the ruling elite and its mouthpieces as “racist.” The Southern Poverty Law Center explicitly links opposition to “Free Trade” with “extremism”: “NAFTA and other international economic pacts are deeply resented by radical rightists, among others, who see them as evidence of the growing power of a global elite, or ‘New World Order’.”

The globalist enforcers smear our desire to protect our jobs as “xenophobic.” After all, enlightened people know it’s wrong to care more about Americans than foreigners.

Meanwhile, the ultra rich shovel in the dough – and their mouthpieces get their cut.

Trading Away Sovereignty

Trading Away Sovereignty

By Virgil Goode, American Conservative, March 7, 2011

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.

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Update:  If you haven’t done so already, please sign the petition at Stop US-Korea NAFTA.

South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground

South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground

Peter Gemma interviews Ian Fletcher, The Jacksonville Observer, March 1, 2011

The upcoming fight over the proposed Free Trade Agreement with Korea, first negotiated by President George W. Bush but not yet ratified by Congress, is now being promoted by the Obama administration. A majority of Democrats and a few key Republicans have already come out strongly against the proposed treaty calling it managed trade not free trade and citing the toll it will take on American jobs and its threat to sovereignty via international control over its provisions – all buried in 1000 pages of details. Some have labeled it “Son of NAFTA,” after the costly and controversial North American Free Trade Agreement. Peter Gemma, a freelance journalist and columnist with Middle American News, recently interviewed Ian Fletcher, Adjunct Fellow at the U.S. Business and Industry Council about the pending agreement.

GEMMA: Your latest book, Free Trade Doesn’t Work, has just been published.Tell me something about the premise – one does not see the issues of globalization, free markets, and trade deficits framed that way.

FLETCHER: It has been taken for granted by our government for decades now that free trade is a good idea. But in reality, as soon as one makes the effort to dig beneath the surface of the economics that supposedly proves free trade is best, one discovers that free trade has enormous drawbacks—and that for most of American history, our government was well aware of this and America did not have free trade.

GEMMA: Isn’t “free trade” a good idea in general?

FLETCHER: No, it isn’t. Trade is a good idea, but that’s not the same thing as free trade. We haven’t taken pure laissez faire seriously in our domestic economy in over 100 years, so why should we take it seriously internationally? You can’t even have real free trade except in a perfect world with no political interference, which is not even remotely the reality.

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Update:  Sign the petition at Stop US-Korea NAFTA.

Why Conservatives Should Oppose KORUS Part II: States’ Rights

This series is a work-in-progress. Your feedback would be appreciated.

That group of conservatives often identified as paleoconservatives are usually characterized by three issues on which they differ from “regular” (i.e. movement) conservatives. They are non-interventionist on foreign policy, they were immigration restrictionists before immigration restriction was cool, and they are skeptical of free trade. (There is more to paleoconservatism than these three issues, but this should suffice for the sake of this discussion.)

One curious exception to this categorization has often been Southern conservatives. (When I say Southern conservatives I don’t just mean conservatives who happen to be from the South although obviously there is some overlap. I mean those conservatives who consciously come at their conservatism from a uniquely Southern perspective.) Southern conservatives have generally been regarded as a subset of paleoconservatives, but many Southern conservatives have been more reluctant than their other paleo peers to embrace “protectionism” and “protective” tariffs (as opposed to a revenue tariff). (I use quotation marks around protectionism, not because I don’t think it is a real thing, but because I don’t think both sides necessarily agree about what the word means.)

There is a clear historical reason for this. Southern conservatives have naturally become well versed in defending the Southern cause in the War Between the States, and one of those causes was opposition to a high protective tariff, which was rightly seen as intended to benefit one section of the country, Northern merchants, at the expense of another, Southern agrarians. So Southern conservatives have been slower to embrace protectionist tariffs that they view as intended to benefit some (industry primarily) arguably at the expense of others.

Of course there are exceptions to this. The average man on the street conservative in the South may be just as likely or more to be skeptical of free trade, than his man on the street conservative Northern counterpart. I am speaking here primarily of an identifiable subset of Southern conservative thinkers who would otherwise be easily characterized as paleocons. This reluctance to whole heartedly endorse protectionist trade measures among historically attuned Southern conservatives is evident in the blogosphere and paleo commentariate.

And this is not just because Southern conservatives have to a greater degree adopted laissez-faire free market ideology. On the contrary, Southern conservatives (and paleocons in general) are more likely to recognize the importance of an economics (and politics) of the human scale and to be skeptical of economic reductionism and “economic man” thinking. I believe what is more at work here, besides historical sensibilities, is a skepticism toward nationalism in all its manifestations (and protectionism is often couched as economic nationalism) and a healthy skepticism that the Feds could create a rational and fair (unbeholden to powerful lobbies) economic nationalist agenda even if it were deemed desirable and constitutional. (While no conservative would doubt the constitutionality of tariffs per se, the “industrial policy” that often accompanies an economic nationalist agenda could be viewed as constitutionally suspect depending on what exactly is being proposed.)

I will leave this debate to the various partisans. My point with this essay is to point out that Southern conservatives who might otherwise be reluctant to embrace “protectionism,” should recognize the danger of the proposed KORUS FTA to another issue that is near and dear to their hearts, states’ rights. A vote on KORUS is imminent. Obama could drop it in the hopper any time he thinks would best facilitate its passage. It is time to put pointy headed discussions like the one above aside for a later day, and work to stop the KORUS broadside to US sovereignty and states’ rights.

According to Americans for Free and Fair Trade, KORUS “using language almost lifted from NAFTA … obligates the federal government to force U.S. states to conform state laws to every single provision in the 1000-page agreement – whether directly related to trade or not.” Furthermore, “Korean and other multi-national corporations could take any dispute with federal or state laws, regulations, or rules to the World Court or United Nations. Federal or state courts would have no authority over the companies.” (emphasis mine)

A person might not like all the rules and regulations individual states may impose on businesses in their state. In fact, conservative minded folks probably don’t. But those rules and regulations are a matter that is properly addressed by the people of the state and their representatives and state and federal courts if necessary. To allow foreign corporations to challenge state laws before foreign tribunals is an intolerable outrage. No self respecting Southern conservative or any other patriotic conservative should stand for this.

It is time for the various partisans in the academic free trade vs. fair trade debate to put their differences aside while we stop this KORUS outrage before it is too late. Once we have done that, then we can reengage this always entertaining debate, a debate to which Southern conservatives bring a unique and historically informed perspective.

Why Conservatives Should Oppose KORUS Part I: Sovereignty

I am working on a series of articles on the KORUS agreement, but I thought I would post this to give CHT’s readers a taste of what is to come. Your feedback would be welcome.

Conservatives relentlessly complain, appropriately so, that the Fed Gov does too much. With the recent reemergence of Constitutionalism, this is even more the case. This Constitutionalism is characterized by the belief that the Feds can only do that which they are specifically authorized to do, primarily in Article 1 Section 8, and nothing more. This can be called the enumerated powers doctrine.

This renewed focus on enumerated powers and constitutional limits is welcomed, but it should not be forgotten that it can also be a problem when Congress fails to do those things it is specifically authorized to do. Congress is specifically authorized to regulate foreign commerce and set tariffs. But actually making laws is hard and dirty work, and trade laws are particularly fraught with political difficulties. That is why we end up with these “free trade” agreements which are negotiated by unelected trade representative that then must be “fast tracked” so as to limit debate. This represents a failure of will on the part of Congress. While this unsavory end around the normal legislative process may not be unconstitutional per se, what Congress can’t do constitutionally is fob off to supranational entities powers that are specifically vested in Congress.

Here we have an inherent problem with KORUS as with NAFTA before it. The agreement cedes authority over our domestic trade matters to the United Nations and the World Bank. Foreign corporations can challenge federal and even state laws by dragging the US before foreign tribunals. This is an intolerable outrage and no patriotic American should stand for it.

Sovereignty is an issue that unites left and right, but my main audience here is conservatives. No conservative, whether a free-trader or a fair trader, should be willing to stand by while Congress effectively punts its responsibilities to globalist bureaucrats. Let your Representative know how you feel. Tell them to vote no on the sovereignty trashing managed trade KORUS boondoggle.

Another Potential Divide at CPAC: KORUS FTA

Movement conservatism has long been committed to free trade. While the base of the GOP is skeptical of  “free trade” deals, movement cons are a slightly different more ideological breed. This disconnect between the more populist base and the more ideological movement was seriously exposed during Pat Buchanan’s ’92 and ’96 runs for the GOP Presidential nomination.

There is a growing movement on the right in opposition to the KORUS FTA, however. I wonder if this anti-KORUS sentiment  is anywhere in evidence at CPAC? I’ll sniff around for evidence that it is and let you know. If any of our readers are attending CPAC and would like to report in, that would be much appreciated also.

Update: I do know that “The Donald,” who is against KORUS, spoke today.

Not So Fast Mr. Kagan: The Emerging Politics of Trade

Here is my latest at EtherZone.

In this rambling neoconish offering (Does he write any other kind?), Robert Kagan ties together two seemingly unrelated things, the US’s relationship with Colombia and Egypt, in his ham-handed attempt to make his neoconish point that America’s actions should be guided by both our interests and our “ideals.” (Apparently Mr. Kagan had two axes to grind and only one column to do it.)

While there is much wrong with Kagan’s column and much that could be responded to, one throwaway line struck me in particular. Among other things, Kagan is hectoring, as neocons are want to do, the Obama Administration for failing to advocate sufficiently on behalf of passage of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA). According to Kagan’s logic, passing the long languishing FTA would be a sort of reward to Colombia for its progress in the area of human rights and democratization.

This is the line that got my attention:

But the administration shows no inclination to push the agreement forward, even with the new free-trade-oriented Republican House sure to pass it. (emphasis mine)

Not so fast there Mr. Kagan. Me thinks Mr. Kagan needs to get out more and quit talking only to his little circle of fellow neocons and other Establishmentarians. While FTAs are broadly supported by the Establishment and a certain element of free-trade ideologues that make up a part of the conservative coalition, the base of the GOP is generally hostile to them.

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Ron Paul and Ralph Nader Agree on Withdrawing from NAFTA and WTO

Ralph Nader has been talking up a libertarian and progressive alliance against corporatism recently. He and Ron Paul were on Freedom Watch with Judge Napolitano to discuss it. They touched on many things, but in keeping with our recent focus on the Korea – US FTA I have chosen to highlight what both men had to say about NAFTA and the WTO.

Paul said:

Paul added that he agreed with Nader on a host of issues, such as cutting the US military’s budget, ending undeclared US wars overseas, restoring civil liberties and civil rights by dumping from the Patriot Act, and withdrawing from the NAFTA and World Trade Organization agreements.

Nader called NAFTA and the WTO “sovereignty shredding and job destroying” (about min 5 of the video). I don’t normally associate liberals with concerns about sovereignty (although Nader is not your typical modern liberal) so that Nader would cite sovereignty concerns speaks to the power of that issue.

Donald Trump “Seriously” Considering a Run for President in 2012

Trump says this is the first time he has “seriously” considered running, but third party advocates will remember that he flirted with seeking the Reform Party nomination in 2000.

Trump cites trade as his main reason for considering a run.

“The Apprentice” host cited what he called the “unfair” trade relationship between America and China and the administration’s inability to utilize the country’s top business talent in trade negotiations as his main reasons for mulling a run.

Trump says he “guess(es)” he would run as a Republican this time around.

Cross posted at IPR.

Stop the US-Korea NAFTA

Everyone should check out the new website: Stop the US-Korea NAFTA.

From the website:

Top 10 reasons to oppose the NAFTA-style Korea trade pact

  1. Undermines U.S. sovereignty in favor of international law & foreign tribunals of UN & World Bank.
  2. Violates U.S. Constitution by circumventing Congressional authority regarding appropriation of U.S. tax dollars.
  3. State legislators oppose because it undermines State’s sovereignty.
  4. Negotiated with expedited Executive authority & Congress is banned from amending or fully debating it.
  5. Kills almost 160,000 U.S. jobs & encourages offshoring by multi-national corporations.
  6. Favors powerful multi-national corporations over U.S. small business even when bidding for government contracts.
  7. Not real “free trade” – benefits Korea much more than U.S. & increases U.S. trade deficit by $16.7 billion.
  8. Allows unsafe food products into U.S.
  9. Benefits the NORTH Korea & strengthens Chinese leverage against us.
  10. Throws open the doors to Korean immigration

You can take action here.

Donald Trump Opposes Korea “Free Trade” Agreement

“The Donald” thinks the Korea – US “Free Trade” Agreement is a bad deal for the US.

“Have you seen what’s happened recently with the trade pact with South Korea?” said Trump. “They ask us to sign something that only a moron would sign.”

Donald Trump has always been for fair trade. Remember that he seriously considered seeking the Reform Party nomination in 2000.

South Korea: Free Trader or Freeloader?

My latest on the Korea – US Trade Deal is up at EtherZone. Here it is below.

On November 24, Americans were bombarded (pun intended) with the news that North Korea had fired upon the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong. This news follows on the heels of a March incident where a South Korean warship was allegedly sunk by a North Korean sub.

While events of this nature in a far off country should normally be of only humanitarian and economic interest to Americans, our country was put on edge by these unnerving developments because, for some reason, we still have nearly 30,000 US troops stationed in South Korea (many more if you include Japan, Okinawa and Guam) that would be put at immediate risk in the event of a war between North and South.

Then, less than two weeks later, we were greeted with the news that South Korea and the US had reached an agreement on a new trade deal.

Am I the only one who is a bit irked by the dichotomy of these two Korea related news items?

Some sixty years after America went to war on the Korean peninsula we are still there protecting the deadbeat South Koreans at great risk of life and treasure. And the otherwise nationalistic South Koreans seem disinclined to change this arrangement anytime soon. (Unlike our officials in Washington, the South Koreans apparently know a sweet deal when they see it.) They recently negotiated a delay (read fobbed off) a planned transfer of wartime operational command from Washington to Seoul that had been scheduled for April 2012.

I am not necessarily opposed to free trade in theory, but I am sick of Uncle Sam being a chump. South Korea wants freer access to the lucrative American marketplace. I don’t blame them. Who wouldn’t? But at the same time they want the beleaguered American taxpayer and our overextended military to continue underwriting their defense. Sounds like a good gig if you can get it – IF YOU’RE SOUTH KOREA, but if you’re America, it stinks.

South Korea needs to get off the military dole. It needs to direct more of its own money towards shoring up its own military for its own defense if such is truly necessary and quit coming with its hand out to Uncle Sugar.

Once South Korea is solely responsible for its own defense and no longer relies on a bankrupt America to protect it from its menacing neighbor to the north, then maybe we should be more in the mood to talk about granting them freer access to our marketplace, but pardon me if I remain a tad bit surly about the prospect while South Korea continues to freeload.

More Korea – US “Free Trade” Deal (KORUS a.k.a. KAFTA) Articles

My goal is to make CHT a repository of information and links regarding the Korea – US “Free Trade” Deal (KORUS a.k.a. KAFTA). I want CHT to be the go to website regarding KORUS/KAFTA. Here are a few.

Obama Trade Deal Would Hurt Workers” by David Newby at the Wisconsin State Journal.

Friend of this website, Mike Tuggle, has this in the Salisbury Post.

Mike Tuggle’s article being commented on at FreeRepublic.

Friend of this website, Peter Gemma, has this blog item at Campaign for Liberty.

Here is a similar entry from Peter at DailyPaul.

Elizabeth Shuler at USA Today.

Ed Dornlas at the Las Vegas Sun.

Economy in Crisis: “NAFTA Redux?”

Editor’s Note: I have added a new “Korea Trade Deal” category.