Representative Mike Michaud, Chairman of the House Trade Working Group (HTWG), released the following statement today after receiving a call from United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk about the deal that was reached today between the U.S. and Korean negotiators on the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
“We had what I thought was a productive meeting just a few weeks ago at the White House on changes we’d like to see in the agreement. At the time, we told the President that we believe the agreement as it exists now has several fundamental problems that go beyond the issues with beef and autos.
“But after talking to Ambassador Kirk today, I learned that these concerns were not addressed. I had hoped for more from this White House, which campaigned on a need to change the way we negotiate trade agreements so that they truly benefit American workers and businesses. The deal reached today, while beneficial to the auto industry, falls far short of that goal.
“Moving forward, I will continue to reach out to the Administration and work with them, especially on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. But when it comes to this deal, I will work with allies on Capitol Hill to do whatever I can to defeat it.
On November 18, Michaud led a White House meeting with President Obama where he and his fellow HTWG members outlined changes that they would like to see in the deal, including: protecting workers’ rights and reducing off-shoring through the clarification and enforcement of labor standards; promoting U.S. manufacturing through reciprocity, targeted tariff reduction and increased export opportunities for small and medium manufactures; and providing U.S. economic sustainability through trade deficit reduction, financial crisis prevention and consumption-production balance. # # #