NEW YORK The U.S.-South
Korea free-trade agreement, which went into effect a year ago,
has hurt steel and manufacturing more than it has helped the
industries, according to the United Steelworkers union.
The dealseen as one of the
most important trade agreements since the North American Free
Trade Agreement (Nafta) came into force in 1994went into
effect March 15, 2012. At the time, some steel industry
advocates had argued that it would help the automotive sector,
while others said it would mean more Korean cars would be
shipped to the United States.
"The anniversary will spark a
debate about whether the (agreement) has been successful or
not," USW president Leo W. Gerard said in a statement. "Of
course, its early. But if this is success, were in
a heap of trouble."
Ford Motor Co. vehicles
registered in South Korea increased by 942 to 5,126 automobiles
in 2012, while South Korean companies sold more than 1.25
million cars in the United States last year, according to union
"Clearly, the huge imbalance in
auto trade has only been solidified by this ill-conceived trade
agreement," Gerard said, adding that the U.S. trade deficit
with South Korea grew faster in the first nine months of the
agreement being in place than during the entire year.
"Changing our negotiating
approach is most critical as negotiations on the Trans-Pacific
Partnership (TPP) continue. Without substantial changes in our
negotiating approach, we can assume that the TPP will give us
the results we now see with South Korea and the results
weve experienced in earlier trade agreements ranging from
Nafta to China (permanent normal trade relations)," he
Under the U.S.-Korean trade
agreement, auto companies had 12 months between the time of the
pacts implementation and compliance. There is also a
special safeguard provision in the deal aimed at ensuring that
the U.S. industry doesnt suffer losses in case of an
import surge from Korea (
amm.com, Nov. 30, 2011).