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Open Letter to the Governments of Canada and The Republic of Korea (2009-11-02 오후 5:35:47)

관리자(총… (서울북노회,베델교회,목사) 2010-01-29 (금) 01:34 14년전 5467  
 
Open Letter to the Governments of Canada and The Republic of Korea
 
November 15, 2009
 
Honourable Mr. Lee Myung-Bak
President
Republic of Korea
 
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper
Prime Minister
Canada
 
Honourable Sirs:
 
We write on behalf of The Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK) and The United Church of Canada (UCC). We represent two churches that have cooperated together to achieve the justice of God and the peace of Christ in this world. We address this open letter to the heads of governments of Canada and the Republic of Korea to express our concern regarding the negotiations towards a proposed Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) between our two countries. Based on past experience with other such agreements, we believe that this FTA will violate principles of economic justice and bring further suffering to the marginalized people in both of our societies. We specify, below, what we believe to be the significant drawbacks of the Canada-Korea FTA and urge you to work with civil society organizations – labour, farmers, religious groups etc. – to develop an alternative approach.
 
1. As currently envisioned, the Korea-Canada FTA would be a replication of the North America Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA). From NAFTA, we have learned that FTAs:
 
 hamper governments’ ability to protect the environment
▪ impede access to affordable medicines
limit governments’ ability to impose conditions on foreign investors
▪ restrict public sector procurement and the use of subsidies as tools of development
▪ increase corporate profits while workers wages deteriorate
▪ provoke serious damage to small and medium-scale farmers.
 
We regret that the FTA model is being introduced again, this time for Korea and Canada, without careful reflection on the critical drawbacks of the neo-liberal model embodied in NAFTA. It is widely accepted that the neo-liberal economic order is the major cause of the current global economic crisis. Therefore we two churches are, with deep concern, paying close attention to the ongoing talks on the FTA between our two countries.
 
2. Civil society organizations in Canada and Korea have expressed great concern about the 'investor-state disputes settlement' (ISD) mechanism contained in Chapter 11 of NAFTA. Inclusion of ISD in NAFTA marked the first time that investors won the right to challenge policies or legislation of national governments by claiming that these policies would affect their ability to make profits. If the investor-state provisions of NAFTA are applied to the Canada-Korea FTA, they would restrict the freedom of both governments to implement policies that are in the public interest. We are deeply concerned about this, because there are already eighteen cases in which the government of Canada has been sued under the terms of the ISD. In NAFTA, the ISD can be triggered in a number of ways. Foreign investors can claim they were not given equal treatment. They can challenge government measures to require the use of local goods or measures that protect a population's health or the environment. Private companies can sue governments for damages. Such cases have had a “chilling” effect on governments' efforts for the public good or for national or regional development strategies.
 
The painful drawbacks of the US-Korea FTA must not be repeated in the Canada-Korea FTA. It is very clear that a repetition of NAFTA’s Chapter 11 would be the worst option for both governments and their people. In Korea, there is also fierce controversy over provisions relating to `'indirect expropriation' (as opposed to the responsibility of government to regulate) in the U.S.-Korea FTA. We are critically monitoring the ongoing trade reform processes in the U.S. Congress, and urge both Canadian and Korean governments to examine trade reform proposals now before the US Congress such as the Trade Reform, Accountability, Development, and Employment Act sponsored by Congressman Michael Michaud and endorsed by 116 other Members of Congress.
 
3. In 2008 the Korean people had to pay a painful price for the government's decision to import U.S. beef. It is clear that the importation of Canadian beef will again provoke fierce controversy in Korea over the issue of "mad-cow disease." While Canadians and Koreans may differ over rules concerning the safety of beef, our churches agree that governments have the right and responsibility to make regulations that safeguard the health of their people.
 
4. We are deeply concerned that the Canadian automobile industry and related job security will be threatened by free rather than managed trade in automobiles. As the ongoing economic crisis triggered by the events in the United States devastates the big-three North American automobile producers, the Canadian automobile industry is forced to undertake restructuring. At the same time, our churches hear the concern expressed by Korean workers about shifting production (and jobs) overseas. In 2005, when our two governments announced the beginning of negotiations, the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union said it would refuse to enter into a competition with Korean workers for future prosperity. “Working people in all countries have the right to job security, fair trade, and economic and social development,” said the CAW, and we concur. Canada and Korea should not continue the FTA talks without considering alternatives to address these concerns.
 
5. The Canada-Korea FTA will be a fatal blow to Korean farmers, who were already severely hurt by the unprecedented liberalization of agricultural markets reinforced by the U.S.-Korea FTA. To implement the Canada-Korea FTA will be, for the already suffering Korean farmers, to hammer the final nail into the coffin.
 
6. The trade-agreement talks between our two countries must be redirected, in order to create more jobs and eventually overcome the economic crisis. At the same time, the process of these talks must be democratic and transparent. We oppose any trade agreement that threatens existing jobs and increases the number of marginalized people. Therefore, we reaffirm our position that the talks on the Canada-Korea FTA must address and correct the drawbacks of the existing NAFTA model.
 
We urge both governments to seriously consider the concerns highlighted above and develop alternatives to address these concerns. Otherwise, we fear, the friendly relations between our two countries will be hampered and the sufferings of the marginalized people in our societies will be intensified.
 
Sincerely,
 
Rev. Kim Jong Maeng                                                Rev. Dr. Bruce Gregersen Chair,
Church and Society Committee                                 General Council Officer, Programs
The Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea                 The United Church of Canada
 

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