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U.S. has never agreed to detrimental FTA revision: study

The Hankyoreh, Seoul

U.S. has never agreed to detrimental FTA revision: study

The DP has rejected the GNP’s pledge to belatedly revise ISD, setting the stage for a GNP railroad

By Jung Eun-joo 

18 November 2011

An examination of past free trade agreements ratified by the United States showed there have been no post-ratification amendments detrimental to the United States.

According to an examination of the website of the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on Thursday, the U.S. has established FTAs with 17 countries and amended two of these, the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) in August 2008 and the U.S.-Israel FTA in December 2009. In the former case, it amended regulations on textile place of origin to make them more stringent, granting duty benefits only for textiles and garments made with Central American thread. The agreement was amended to protect and foster the U.S.’s own textile industry.

With Israel, the agreement extended the effective date of a trade agreement in the area of agricultural products.

The U.S. has also pushed demands for renegotiation on agreements that have already been signed and even ones that have been ratified by the parliament of the partner nation.

In June 2006, the Peruvian parliament ratified the U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement by a 79-to-14 vote. The Colombian Parliament completed its ratification of the U.S.-Colombia FTA around the same time. But the U.S. Democratic Party, with a new congressional majority, objected to the agreements and demanded revisions. After a process of renegotiations, Peru and Colombia had to sign new agreement and go through ratification procedures again.

The South Korea-U.S. FTA was approved in April 2009 by the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Unification Committee, but an additional letter of agreement was drafted in December 2010 after the U.S. demanded renegotiation of automobile provisions.

But the United States has never agreed to negotiations or FTA amendments that were detrimental to itself. After the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect in 1994, Mexico was wracked with a slump in the working class economy and serious polarization, with a 2006 movement to demand renegotiations. Washington dismissed the calls, while President Barack Obama declared that there would be no negotiations on an amendment.