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Textile firms oppose US-Korea free trade
Jul '11
Representatives of two textile firms in Georgia State of the US have expressed opposition to the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) fearing reduction in jobs.

They say that the implementation of the FTA would put 12,000 direct textile workers and another 40,000 jobs in the textile supply chain at risk, because of the weak customs enforcement, and the unequal tariff phase-outs.

Further, China, being adjacent to Korea, can easily get its goods relabeled in Korea if the FTA comes into force. It would benefit China, besides creating jobs in Korea at the cost of American jobs, they say.

More than 27,000 signatures have been collected nationwide in opposition to the agreement amended by the Obama administration in the fall of 2010, they say.

The US-Korea FTA differs from the Central American Free Trade Agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement, as these agreements require that the garments sent to the US duty-free use American textiles.

A report prepared for the US Senate Finance subcommittee states that the US would lose around 250,000 jobs when the FTA is fully effective. The original FTA agreement was signed in 2007, but was never submitted to Congress for ratification.

Presently, US products are subjected to very high Korean tariffs, up to 6.6 percent on non-agricultural items and up to 54 percent on agricultural items. If these tariffs are eliminated under the FTA, it is argued that it would benefit the US.

The tariffs imposed by the US on Korean goods is very small, 3.2 percent and 9 percent on non-agricultural goods and agricultural goods, respectively.

The FTA is expected to be submitted to the Obama Administration this year and if ratified, it would be the first FTA signed by the US with one of the big Asian countries.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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