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The ink was barely dry on a proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the United States and South Korea when Hyundai Motor announced it would study a plan to export pickup trucks into the United States.
That’s just one impact of this one-sided trade deal, announced in early hours of April 2. It’s the latest example of U.S. trade officials going to the table and negotiating a great deal — for the other side.
UAW President Ron Gettelfinger urged Congress to reject the agreement.
“It fails the basic test of any reasonable trade agreement,” he said.
“It’s not reciprocal.”
The proposed U.S.-Korea FTA immediately eliminates U.S. tariffs on autos and auto parts. It also phases out over 10 years the U.S. tariffs on imported pickups. But there are no guarantees that Korea will dismantle their nontariff barriers to U.S-built automotive products.
“Last year, Korea exported 550,000 vehicles to the U.S.,” said Gettelfinger, “while the U.S. sold just 4,000 vehicles in Korea. Something is obviously wrong with this picture — and this trade agreement will do nothing to make it right.”
The US-Korea FTA, as proposed, will increase the U.S. trade deficit with South Korea, currently running at $14 billion. Other auto companies oppose the deal because it will not open the Korean market to U.S. vehicles.
The UAW is supporting instead a bipartisan proposal which would require Korea to take concrete steps to open its domestic market before being granted additional access to U.S. markets.