Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Korea-US FTA: Round 3

Well, the third round of FTA negotiations are starting up today in Seattle. The perfect opportunity to promote the wealth of material recently put up on the Korean No to FTA site. Of particular interest is an essay by Cho Hee-Yeon of SungKongHoe University on the Korean government's 'rush to neoliberalism.'

There are also some interviews with Korean activists visiting Seattle, and some position papers on the Korea-US FTA's effects on workers. Enjoy.

Also here is an update from the Korean NOFTA group.

Korean and US activist to protest Korea-US FTA meeting in Seattle.

From September 6 to 9, 2006, in Seattle, a 60-member delegation from the Korean Alliance Against Korea-US FTA (KOA) will join hundreds of US activists to protest the 3rd round of FTA negotiations.

The week is filled with joint rallies, press conferences, marches, and workshops, including the Koreans' unique methods of protest that incorporate Buddhist ideals of dedication (sam-bo il-bae ‘3-step/1-bow’ march on 9/8) and Korea’s traditional funeral march (on 9/9).

Labor, women, and farmers’ groups are at the forefront of these events. One goal of the Seattle protest is to build a lasting, global solidarity against neoliberalism. The only way to form any kind of resistance against the flow of unrestrained capital is to construct an international network of progressive movements. Seattle is a symbolic place for Korean activists, and they are prepared to let their voices be heard.

For South Korea, a free trade agreement with the US, similar to the effects of NAFTA and US and Mexican workers, would mean the loss of millions of jobs, the disappearance of farming families, and the privatization of social services for which the Korean people have fought for many decades. Over 50% of Korea’s population opposes this hastily conceived FTA. And the negotiations themselves are undemocratic and non-transparent.

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