Posted February. 14, 2008 07:14,
Korean Confederation of Trade Unions chairman Lee Seok-haeng is in Washington to protest the free trade agreement between the U.S. and Korea. The KCTU chairman is scheduled to meet with U.S. Congressman Sander Levin, a Democrat who has urged Korea to open up its car market, today.
Levin, a representative from Michigan, the stronghold of the U.S. auto industry, chairs the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, one of the standing committees reviewing the FTA. He has argued for the Korea-U.S. FTA to be renegotiated arguing that the U.S. failed to fully open up Koreas car market.
It is ironic, however, that Levin, known to be a spokesperson for the U.S. auto industry, and KCTU chairman Lee, who represents the interests of Korean auto workers, should work hand-in-hand to oppose the bilateral trade deal.
Chairman Lee already met with John Sweeney, president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, on Monday.
A KCTU official said, The two nations trade union confederations agreed to make an all-out effort to prevent the two governments from ratifying an FTA. The source added, Sweeney said the AFL-CIO has urged senators and representatives to reject the ratification of the Korea-U.S. FTA. He also said the federation plans to make trade policies, to include the Korea-U.S. FTA, a key issue in the upcoming U.S. presidential election.
An AFL-CIO official said, We explained our fundamental policy which states that unless the two governments renegotiate the agreement regarding the auto sector, we will oppose the Korea-U.S. FTA.