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Workers’ Digest
Issue # 14
Special Release Issue
September 2008

Filipino workers reject EU-ASEAN FTA

THE Partido ng Manggagawa as the political party of the working class in the Philippines rejects the proposed European Union- Association of Southeast Asian Nations Free Trade Agreement (EUASEAN FTA) for being a clear and present danger to the workers and the people of our country.

An EU-ASEAN FTA will be more of the same “free trade” agreements whose purported aim is trade liberalization but whose real agenda is the pillage and exploitation of ASEAN nations by EU’s transnational companies. With the ratification of the controversial JPEPA, the bilateral FTA between the Philippines and Japan, the Filipino people can unfortunately declare that “we have been there and done that.”

The fact that a final text of the EUASEAN FTA has not been made public cannot be an excuse not to oppose it immediately. On the contrary, it all the more emphasizes the lack of transparency and corporate secrecy that free trade agreements in general have been transacted and negotiated. The EU-ASEAN FTA is no different. It is being crafted behind the backs of the workers and the people in order to blindside them with another “free trade” agreement that will be contrary to their interests.

The insertion of a labor or social clause in the text will not sweeten the bitter, or rather poisonous, nature of the FTA. A provision paying lip service to respect for labor rights is merely a carrot meant to make the pain of the stick somehow bearable for the workers...

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