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