by Matt Stoller, Sun Apr 22, 2007 at 08:15:00 AM EDT
The history of NAFTA is tied up with an earlier free trade agreement with Canada negotiated by the Reagan administration in the late 1980s. In fact, there was a series of post-WWII trade agreements with wealthy countries that had support from labor, because of labor's fierce anti-Communist tendencies. Both George Meany and Lane Kirkland, who were the leaders of the AFL-CIO during this time period, both took pride in their support of the Vietnam war at the expense of domestic priorities. Meany famously said that he proudly never walked a picket line in his life. Before globalization started earnestly in the early 1970s, this made sense, as reducing tariffs didn't hurt the leverage of American workers, and liberal internationalists were running the government. The trade agreement with South Korea might seem to follow this trend, since both are wealthy countries. Here's the problem.
Significantly, Washington accommodated Seoul's requests to consider development of Kaesong, the South Korean-run industrial zone in North Korea.
Kaesong is a slave labor camp.