Thursday, October 13, 2011

Letter to Franken Regarding Votes on Free Trade Agreements

To Senator Al Franken (D-MN):

Thank you so much for voting no on the Panamanian and Columbian Free Trade Agreements.

I'm not sure why you would vote yes on the South Korean FTA. As I understand it, the deal would allow South Korean firms to sell their goods here tariff-free. However, over 47,000 North Korean laborers are currently performing work for over 120 South Korean firms doing business in North Korea, and this FTA does nothing to curb abuses of those workers.

Basically, we are encouraging the importation of goods into this country that are made by workers being paid 35 cents an hour, with those workers laboring in the Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea under conditions which are among the worst in the world, according to the AFL-CIO.

It is bad enough that manufacturing in this country has been decimated by corporations relocating overseas (or closing because of unfair competition). Must we encourage abuses of laborers in other countries, too?

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