White House Celebrates Wal-Mart, PhRMA, AT&T, RIAA Support for NAFTA 2.0 in Korea

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FireDogLake.com

White House Celebrates Wal-Mart, PhRMA, AT&T, RIAA Support for NAFTA 2.0 in Korea

by
Michael Whitney

Saturday the White House announced that the following noble protectors of American workers endorsed the NAFTA-style Korea Free Trade agreement:

US Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue; President of the National Association of Manufacturers John Engler; Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit; JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon; Amway CEO and top Republican funder Dick DeVos; Big Bank lobby group Financial Services Roundtable President Steve Bartlett; and more. [Also, the MPAA]

That's an impressive array of people who are dedicated to protecting
the ultra-rich and not giving a damn about real working Americans or
American jobs. How could the Obama White House top that?

Here's the second round of endorsements from the White House for
NAFTA-style Korea Free Trade; mind you the White House is actually
bragging about these names:

  • PhRMA
  • Wal-Mart
  • RIAA
  • AT&T
  • Mitch McConnell

It's like a party for the Corporate Axis of Evil, and Obama's throwing a kegger.

New endorsements of NAFTA 2.0 below from the White House.

Below please see additional statements of support released for the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
"The President's announcement is a positive development
towards completing a free trade agreement with our ally South Korea that
will promote economic opportunity and private sector job creation. The
goal of improving market access for American farmers, entrepreneurs and
manufacturers is one that the President and I share. We both agree that
increasing markets overseas through trade agreements will create good
jobs that are greatly needed at this time of high unemployment. I intend
to support a strong agreement and am hopeful that with a more balanced
Congress, we will see renewed support for this, and the other trade
agreements that have been languishing for the past two years."

Senator John Kerry
"I am happy to hear that the United States and South
Korea have reached a deal on the Korea-U.S. Trade Agreement, and look
forward to reviewing the pact and working hard to secure its early
ratification. The Obama administration is sparing no effort to send
Congress an agreement that can help create jobs and revitalize our
economy, and I am pleased the President made the politically difficult
decision to take the time to get this deal done right for America. I
understand that there are beef export issues that have not been resolved
and urge the administration to continue pushing for better access to
the Korean market for American beef as we move forward.

"KORUS represents an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to fair
and open markets, and for the new Congress to demonstrate that in spite
of today's highly polarized political environment, bipartisan
cooperation in the national interest remains attainable. New export
opportunities in South Korea for U.S. companies will generate good
paying American jobs and contribute to our economic recovery. Moreover,
this agreement delivers an important message to an ever closer ally and
the region at a time of uncertainty on the Korean Peninsula.

"For many, KORUS has become a symbol of the United States' commitment
to the region and our appreciation of its increasingly important role
in international commerce. It is essential that the United States
enhance its economic presence in Asia and compete on a level playing
field with other exporters in the region. Ratification of KORUS is an
important step forward that will have enormously positive economic and
political implications for our country in the years ahead."

Senator Maria Cantwell
"South Korea is Washington's fifth largest export market,
meaning any new trade agreement will spur new job and economic growth
in our state," said Senator Cantwell. "Passage of the U.S.-Korea Free
Trade Agreement would have enormous benefits for Washington, by making
many U.S. food products duty-free - such as our world-class wheat,
cherries, wine, and potatoes. I urge the negotiators discussing the
remaining beef issue to work toward an agreement that will ensure
American beef producers have full access to a Korean market potentially
worth $1 billion to U.S. producers."

Senator Saxby Chambliss
"Today's announcement is a positive development and it is
my hope it signals President Obama's intention to submit the United
States-South Korea Free Trade Agreement to Congress early next year.

"While the lack of progress on beef is of concern, the free trade
agreement is a critical part in growing U.S. agriculture exports. In
the weeks ahead, Korea needs to provide assurances to the United States
how it intends to fully implement the 2008 Protocol consistent with
their international obligations.

"I look forward to the upcoming debate in the Senate next year as
well as action of the other pending free trade agreements with Colombia
and Panama."

Congressman Dave Reichert
"Today's announcement by the President about the
U.S.-South Korea free trade agreement is an important milestone for an
agreement that has languished since its signing in June 2007," Reichert
said. "I applaud the efforts that have allowed us to reach this point.
Opening new markets is a no-cost, proven stimulus that is essential to
job creation. Each day we fail to implement this agreement is another
missed opportunity to create hundreds of thousands of American jobs.
Passing the KORUS FTA is vital to our nation's economic recovery,
reengagement in the Asia-Pacific region, and addressing security
challenges on the Korean Peninsula. I look forward to working with
Ambassador Kirk, my colleagues in Congress, and advocates across the
country to broaden support for this agreement."

Senator Jim Webb
"I am very gratified that this agreement has finally been
reached after more than four years of negotiations between our two
countries. The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement will bolster the U.S.
economy and send a strong signal to our ally, the Republic of Korea, and
the rest of the region that the United States will follow through on
its commitments and remain deeply engaged in East Asia.

"The Free Trade Agreement provides American businesses with new
export opportunities to Korea and will support job protection and growth
in the United States.

"I am looking forward to continuing my efforts to ensure this agreement is approved."

AT&T Statement
"We are pleased that the U.S. and South Korean
governments have been able to resolve the outstanding issues that
hindered bringing this vital trade agreement to a close. The ongoing
commitment to promote competition and encourage investment in global
markets is crucial for companies like AT&T that are working
tirelessly to meet the global 21st century communications needs of the
customers we serve.

"AT&T looks forward to working with administration officials and
the Congress to bring this important agreement to final completion."

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) President and CEO John Castellani
"PhRMA welcomes the progress made on the pending
Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. This agreement recognizes the 60 years
of partnership between our two countries and the important national
security ties that we share. PhRMA has long viewed the Korea-U.S. Free
Trade Agreement as a terrific opportunity for Korean patients to access
biopharmaceutical medicines produced in the United States. With rising
living standards and increasingly sophisticated access to information,
Korean patients, like patients everywhere, want access to the most
advanced medical treatments."We believe this Agreement, particularly the
transparency and intellectual property provisions, represents a 21st
century standard that should be a model for other agreements. Korea is
an important market for the U.S. research-based pharmaceutical
companies, a country where we currently enjoy a trade surplus. This
agreement will contribute directly to increased U.S. exports and the
expansion of highly skilled, well paying jobs here. PhRMA looks forward
to the ratification of the Agreement by Congress in the next year."

American Meat Institute President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle
"The American Meat Institute (AMI) supports the free
trade agreement between the United States and South Korea announced
today and urges the Congress to ratify it at its earliest opportunity.
South Korea is already a major market for U.S. meat. Pork exports in
2010 are expected to exceed $150 million, making South Korea the fifth
largest export market for pork. The tariff reduction schedule for pork
will further strengthen the U.S. position in this important and growing
market. Beef exports continue to grow, from 233 metric tons valued at
$612,000 in 2006 to 56,000 metric tons valued at $56 million in 2009.
Through the first nine months of the year, exports to South Korea are up
136 percent in volume and 181 percent in value. AMI estimates that
once the FTA is fully implemented, beef and pork exports to South Korea
could increase by $2 billion and resulting in more than 26,700 new
American jobs. The growth in U.S. beef exports in recent years is due to
the successful negotiations of the U.S. government and widespread
Congressional support from leaders, such as Sen. Baucus (D-MT), for
reopening the South Korean market to beef, which was closed from 2003 to
2007. AMI looks forward to working with our negotiators and
Congressional allies to continue discussions with Korea to provide full
access for all U.S. beef products."

The American Automotive Policy Council (AAPC) Statement
Representing its member companies Chrysler Group LLC,
Ford Motor Company and General Motors Company - appreciates President
Barack Obama, Ambassador Ron Kirk and the office of the United States
Trade Representative's hard work to reach a deal improving the auto
provisions of the pending Korea Free Trade Agreement. AAPC and its
member companies support this agreement.

"We value the efforts of President Obama, Ambassador Kirk and the
USTR negotiating team to revise the text of the agreement and thereby
helping improve U.S. access to the Korean auto market," AAPC Acting
President Charles Uthus said.

Walmart Statement
"Walmart applauds the Administration for resolving the
outstanding issues in the U.S. - Korea Free Trade Agreement. We believe
that the agreement will lower trade barriers and create a more level
playing field for U.S. services and manufacturing exports. We look
forward to working with the Administration and Congress to secure
passage of the Korea agreement, as well as the pending free trade
agreements with Panama and Colombia in the near future."

Ernst & Young Chairman and CEO James S. Turley
"For the United States, this trade agreement will yield
exports, and those exports will yield jobs. Such negotiated agreements
are key to competitiveness in what is clearly a global marketplace. The
United States has been a party to fewer than twenty of the hundreds of
bilateral and regional trade agreements that exist around the world
today. That has to change, and this agreement is a critical part of a
move in the right direction. I applaud the Administration for coming to
this agreement with South Korea and urge Congress to approve it
promptly."

National Pork Producers Council President Sam Carney
"We've worked particularly hard the past several years to
get a good deal for U.S. pork in the FTA with South Korea," said
Carney. "We had that but to get a final agreement, we needed to give a
little, we needed to take one for the team. This is still a good deal
for us."

At NPPC's insistence, the United States had negotiated in the
agreement that was signed June 30, 2007, a zero tariff rate on most pork
products going into South Korea effective Jan. 1, 2014, the same date
Chile's pork and 30 months before the European Union's goes to a zero
duty. Chile's FTA with South Korea was implemented in 2004; the EU's
agreement will be in force July 1, 2011.

The U.S.-South Korea FTA had been held up mostly because of issues
related to trade in beef and automobiles. The logjam was broken when
U.S. pork producers agreed to move back the effective date on the zero
tariff rate on some cuts of pork to Jan. 1, 2016.

"With the date for a zero tariff on pork moved back, we likely will
lose some market share in the South Korean market to Chile," Carney
said. "But as the lowest-cost producer of pork in the world, we'll hold
our own. We still will go to zero six months prior to the EU."

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) Executive Vice President (International) Neil Turkewitz
"We are extremely pleased that a breakthrough has been reached that will
hopefully permit the rapid consideration and ratification of the
Korea-US Free Trade Agreement. This agreement has already been publicly
endorsed by various organizations, unions and businesses in the
entertainment sector. International markets are vital to US companies
and workers, and we strongly support the negotiation of trade agreements
that protect intellectual property, lower market access barriers to
U.S. creative products and services, and promote legitimate electronic
commerce. America's music sector has been badly affected by piracy for
decades. Today we face a problem of unprecedented scale. While the
digital revolution has created new ways for us to reach consumers with
compelling products and content, this same technology has also
facilitated the work of those who profit from stealing ideas, innovation
and creativity. Achieving enhanced global standards of copyright
protection and enforcement, ensuring meaningful market access, and
developing trade disciplines that keep pace with technological
development are all central to our ability to remain competitive and to
continue to ensure good jobs for America's creative community. The
Korea-U.S. FTA succeeds in helping to address these challenges in ways
that not only bring continued high levels of protection in Korea but
also set important precedents for future free trade agreements. This
agreement provides modern standards of copyright protection for the
digital age, and requires both parties to ensure that protection is
meaningful in practice through effective enforcement. We highlight in
particular the very important commitments undertaken by Korea with
respect to addressing internet piracy. These commitments are central to
our shared objectives of combating the online theft of creative content.
We laud the government of Korea's commitment to tackle Internet piracy
and we believe that such provisions should be replicated in any and all
future FTAs or agreements that address intellectual property
protection. In short, we strongly support the agreement, and hope that
Congress will ratify it as quickly as possible. More broadly, we
strongly support continuing efforts to pursue simultaneous
liberalization and the strengthening intellectual property protections
through bilateral, regional, and multilateral trade negotiations. For
decades, the expansion of trade and the protection of intellectual
property have been cornerstones of a bipartisan economic policy. The
ability of our country to lead -the ability of our companies to lead and
to create employment- will depend upon our continued success."

Entertainment Industry Coalition Statements
Elizabeth Frazee, Executive Director of the EIC said,
"Today's announcement paves the way for passage of the U.S.-Korea FTA.
This groundbreaking agreement will advance the interests of the U.S.
entertainment industry, a source of well-paying U.S. jobs and the
foundation of the U.S. creative economy. We will work hard as a
coalition to educate the U.S. Congress about the benefits of the
agreement and urge its rapid consideration in Congress."

"Considering the vital role international markets play in the success
of the American entertainment industry, we strongly support efforts to
break down market access barriers and curtail content theft that hinders
our industry's growth abroad," said Greg Frazier, MPAA Executive Vice
President and Chief Policy Officer. "We are very pleased that the
outstanding issues that stood in the way of ratification of this
agreement have been resolved."

Neil Turkewitz, RIAA Executive Vice President, International
remarked, "The Korea FTA provides specific references to the need to
prosecute not only direct infringers, but also those who ‘profit from
developing and maintaining services that effectively induce
infringement.' Korea also undertook to provide legal incentives for
service providers to cooperate with right holders in deterring piracy.
In doing so, Korea has taken a significant step toward a more effective
system for combating the high levels of online copyright infringement
that currently prevail, and we strongly endorse this agreement."

"The Independent Film & Television Alliance strongly supports
this Agreement with the Republic of Korea, an important marketplace for
independent producers and distributors, and we were pleased that
Presidents Obama and Lee have pledged to move forward," said Susan
Cleary, IFTA's Vice President & General Counsel. "Thanks to the
cooperation between our respective governments, this FTA will promote
greater marketplace access opportunities and ensure vitally important
content protection safeguards for all producers and distributors."

"The Korea FTA reflects the deepest consideration of online commerce
and intellectual property issues between the parties to date," said
Stevan Mitchell, Vice President of Intellectual Property Policy for the
Entertainment Software Association. "These provisions are of long-term
and growing significance, and include duty-free treatment of digital
downloads and nondiscriminatory treatment of entertainment software
products."

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