Delegates at National Farmers Union’s (NFU) 109th annual convention in San Antonio, Texas, have adopted a special order of business opposing recent free trade agreements, particularly the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS).

For more on the agreement, see Rapid ratification of U.S./Korea trade agreement urged.   

“Past free trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) have not performed as promised for U.S. agriculture,” said Roger Johnson, NFU President, on March 15. “KORUS replicates many of the most troubling provisions of NAFTA and CAFTA. Even more troubling is the fact that KORUS has no provisions to counter Korean currency manipulations.”

KORUS also projects to increase the U.S. trade deficit and cost tens of thousands of jobs.

“The U.S. International Trade Commission predicts that the KORUS agreement would increase the U.S. trade deficit of $308 - $416 million,” said Johnson. “Further, the Economic Policy Institute forecasts that the agreement would cost 159,000 U.S. jobs in its first seven years. This would be a terrible deal for the U.S., one that NFU cannot support as it is currently written.”

NFU would support a trade agreement that addresses the issue of currency manipulation. The agreement must also ensure all participating countries meet the International Labor Organization standards for labor, and products from such countries meet U.S. standards for environment, health, and food safety.