South Korea Free Trade Agreement Will Cause 159,000 Americans to Lose Their Jobs

Economist Robert E. Scott has cranked the numbers on U.S. job losses if the South Korean Free Trade Agreement is passed. Yet another bad trade deal would cause 159,000 Americans to lose their jobs over 7 years.

EPI’s research shows it will increase the U.S. trade deficit with Korea by about $16.7 billion, and displace about 159,000 American jobs within the first seven years after it takes effect.


Scott also calls out the USITC, our trade so called representative and commission for denying, routinely, the American job losses of these agreements. From the research paper overview:

This Economic Policy Institute analysis examines the likely jobs impact of signing pending FTAs with Korea and Colombia. It shows, based on past experience, that these trade agreements will increase the U.S.’s trade deficit with both countries. Contrary to the Chamber’s projections, the EPI analysis then shows that the increased trade deficit per se will correspond to the loss of 214,000 jobs in the U.S. by 2015.

What is it about trade deficit these people do not understand?

If one reads Dr. Scott's work, the assumptions and calculations are thorough. Shame our government isn't.

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EPI analysis

Scott's conclusions are based on "previous experience" with free trade agreements, e.g., NAFTA, that have little or nothing in common with the KORUS FTA.

He completely fails to consider that South Korea is a developed country with a well-paid and well-treated labor force. No American company would gain any economic benefit from off-shoring jobs to Korea.

NAFTA is accused (debatably) of sending American jobs to Mexico. But does anyone claim that it send jobs to Canada?

I don't think so on Scott

I've seen his work and generally he makes valid assumptions and cranks the numbers, i.e. he didn't get this estimate by "past experience".

Then, South Korea's PPP is still way below the U.S., i.e. they can manufacture much more cheaply than the U.S.

On NAFTA, I believe people have pointed out jobs went to Canada, but due to the massive influx of cheap labor from S. of the border, for wages did not rise, unemployment did and Mexican factory workers were literally living in cardboard boxes, the tendency is to focus on Mexico.

It's only recently that the Canadian dollar was on par with the U.S., but it's clear their overall policies are creating jobs and they did not labor arbitrage their workforce like the U.S. and Mexico have done.

free trade deals

Obama pledged to fix Nafta when he was running for election....has anything been done to fix Nafta ??????? I don't think so. NO MORE FREE TRADE SCAMS FOR THE WORKING CLASS !!