Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Free Trade vs. Free People - US-Korea FTA

Free Trade vs. Free People

Here is the full text to the draft of the Free Trade Agreement between the Republic of Korea and the United States

The FTA talks have huge implications for South Korea as it would open the economy up to full utilization by the U.S. and the deal has caused a huge wave of controversy in the country.
As reported in Wikipedia The US-Korea FTA is the second largest trade agreement ever made by the United States.

Many activists in South Korea have begun to rally together and protest. On Nov. 22, 2006 as many as 20,000 gathered at city hall in Seoul. The most vocal opposition has been South Korean farmers and labor unions.
The connection to North Korea, beyond the impact of the economic changes brought to the Rep. of Korea, is what many South Korean activists see as legislation that might allow or even encourage government
surveillance and censorship. As Thomas Kim of the San Diego Union-Tribune puts it "South Korea has been a liberal democracy for less than two decades, and over the past year the trade agreement has become the latest chapter of the people's struggle to consolidate the practice of freedom. Democracy and development should not and need not be in opposition to each other, yet throughout the negotiations the administration of South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun sacrificed democratic principles while embracing authoritarian trends." - http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20070403/news_mz1e3kim.html
One such trend is the sections in the FTA
involving IPRs (Intellectual Property Rights) This site (http://www.bilaterals.org ) is a site that is dedicated against "bilateral trade and investment agreements that are opening countries to the deepest forms of penetration by transnational corporations" and their opionion of IPRs is very interesting - http://www.bilaterals.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=33

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