Minneapolis, Minn. (December 13, 20100 – The Minnesota Fair Trade Coalition was founded almost 20 years ago by diverse organizations who were concerned about early negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement. The Coalition doubted the benefits touted by government officials. Alas, the Coalition’s fears were soon realized in the years following implementation of NAFTA in 1994: suppressed wages, compromised product safety, labor and human rights violations, loss of family farms, environmental destruction, corporate suits of public interest policies, hundreds of millions of dollars in litigation at taxpayer expense, and most apparent, drastic job loss.
In Minnesota we have lost almost 60,000 manufacturing jobs alone since 1994 because of failed trade policies.
Despite the glaring consequences of NAFTA and similar trade agreements, the model lives on. As the biggest trade agreement since NAFTA itself, the Minnesota Fair Trade Coalition had hoped that the pending U.S.- South Korea Free Trade Agreement would break the mold and set forth a new and improved model for trade.
Unfortunately, this agreement is simply more of the same. While some improvements were made in recent negotiations, this agreement will still result in net job loss for American workers and fails to support the fair trade values upon which our Coalition was formed.
The Minnesota Fair Trade Coalition will continue to oppose the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement and encourage a new model that expands trade in a way that will benefit a majority of workers and protect our environment. We urge our Members of Congress to join us in this endeavor.
Located at 2511 Franklin Avenue East., Minneapolis, MN 55406, Minnesota Fair Trade Coalition is a nonprofit, nonpartisan coalition of labor, environmental, faith, family farm, and civil society organizations united for a fair and democratic trade policy and a just global economy. www.fairtrademinnesota.org