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For Immediate Release 10/12/11

Contact: Sukjong Hong  (646) 567-9607 

Wall Street Occupiers Mobilize to Rep. Maloney's Office to Expose Biggest Trade Deal Since NAFTA On Day of Historic Vote 
Protesters Urge Maloney to Protect Jobs, Not Wall Street Greed 

Who: Members of Occupy Wall Street Trade Justice Working Group and TradeJustice NY Metro, a coalition of over 2 dozen organizations including churches, Korean and Latino community groups; organizations representing the environmental, AIDS, anti-hunger, Latin America solidarity, animal rights, and food safety movements. 

What: On the day that Congress votes on trade agreements with South Korea, Panama, and Colombia protesters will vigil in front of Representative Maloney's office to urge her to oppose trade deals that will help the super-rich, the financial industry, and other mulitnationals get richer at the expense of the 99%. 

When: Wednesday, October 12, 9:30 AM 

Where: Office of Rep. Carolyn Maloney. 3rd Ave at 93rd Street, Manhattan 

Why: As a new mass movement sweeps the nation to challenge the out of control financial industry practices that have led to foreclosures and a 9.1% unemployment rate, President Obama, in a complete reversal of his campaign promises, has sent Wall Street-backed trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama to be voted on in Congress, with the vote on all three to be held today in both Houses of Congress. These trade agreements will prevent regulation of Wall Street while outsourcing jobs, and giving corporations the right to sue the United States in international tribunals for enforcing our environmental, labor, and public interest laws. 

The largest of these deals, the Korea FTA, will cost the United States 159,000 jobs according to the Economic Policy Institute and increase the US trade deficit by as much as $416 million according to the International Trade Commission, a federal agency that investigates the effects of dumped and subsidized imports on domestic industries. The trade agreement includes a 35% rule of origin, meaning that corporations can claim a good is Korean made to avoid US tariffs as long as 35% is made in Korea. This means that US producers will soon be competing with untariffed goods made in sweatshops in China, Vietnam, and other countries with a notorious record of starvation wages and miserable and unsafe working conditions. Corporations manufacturing in the US will either offshore jobs as a result or lose in the marketplace against cheaper, sweatshop-made goods. At the same time, since good will be "American made" under the FTA if they are 35% produced in the US, corporations will gain the ability offshore jobs to sweatshops in Mexico and Central America and export them to Korea duty-free. 

At the same time that President Obama is cynically attempting to bolster his populist credentials by supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement, with a wink and a nod to the same corporations the occupiers are protesting, he sent a trade deal to Congress that will prohibit the United States from limiting the size of financial institutions, imposing firewalls between the sort of financial services one firm may offer, banning toxic derivatives, or controlling destabilizing capital flights and floods, fundamentally undermining Wall Street reforms. 

Environmentalists, animal rights advocates, and family farm defenders oppose the trade deals as well, which will force Korea to accept genetically modified foods, increased exports of animal products from cruel, polluting, factory farms that spread bird flu and swine flu, and destroy Korea's family farm economy. According to Sukjong Hong of Korean Americans for Fair Trade, "Koreans both in the US and Korea oppose this trade deal, which will only benefit the elites of both countries at the expense of workers and family farmers." The trade deal also forces Korea to accept cards that fail to meet its emissions standards instead of raising US emissions standards to Korean levels and includes investment rules that give Korean corporations the right to sue the US in international tribunals for unlimited sums for enforcing our environmental laws if they curtail corporate profits. 

According to Adam Weissman of TradeJustice NY Metro and a Maloney constituent, "President Obama is cynically trying to pass off a job-killing agreement that undermines Wall Street reform as a job creator. Representative Maloney needs to stand up for the working people, not support a Korea trade deal that will outsource 159,000 jobs, help the corporations our tax dollars bailed out escape regulations designed to prevent them from tanking the economy again.