July 28, 2007

Secret memo: One-world agenda dominates SPP summit

WND Exclusive
Secret memo: One-world agenda dominates SPP summit
Document reveals plan for meeting of U.S., Mexico, Canada leaders

Posted: July 24, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern

By Jerome R. Corsi
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with her counterparts, Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay and Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa at February meeting
A multinational business agenda is driving the upcoming summit meeting of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, according to a document obtained through an Access to Information Act request in Canada.

The memo shows a secondary focus of the leaders' meeting in Montebello, Quebec, Aug. 20-21, will be to prepare for a continental avian flu or human pandemic and establish a permanent continental emergency management coordinating body to deal not only with health emergencies but other unspecified emergencies as well.

As WND has reported, President Bush, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexico's President Felipe Calderon will attend the third SPP summit.

The Security and Prosperity Partnership is unveiled in Jerome Corsi's book, 'The Late, Great USA'

The document, obtained by Canadian private citizen Chris Harder, is a two-page heavily redacted summary of the ministerial meeting in Ottawa, held Feb. 23 between Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her counterparts, Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay and Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa.

The purpose of the Feb. 23 meeting in Ottawa was to set the agenda for the August summit.

The Access to Information Act-obtained memo noted the nation's leaders intend next month to pursue the five priorities set at their second summit meeting in Cancun in March 2005:

  • Strengthening Competitiveness
  • Avian and Pandemic Influenza
  • Emergency Management
  • Energy Security
  • Secure Borders

Of the five issues, the memo clearly states recommendations by the North American Competitiveness Council, or NACC, regarding competitiveness "took centerpiece" at the Feb. 23 meeting. Almost immediately, the memo says, governments "will need to begin assessing the potential impact of adopting recommendations made by the NACC and coordinating their response to the authors of the report."

The memo states "the most dynamic element on the plenary agenda was a meeting with the NACC, the body created by the Leaders in 2006 to give the private sector a formal role in providing advice on how to enhance competitiveness in North America."

The NACC consists of 30 multinational business corporations that advise SPP and set the action agenda for its 20 trilateral bureaucratic working groups.

The memo notes the NACC was created by the leaders in 2006 "to give the private sector a formal role in providing advice on how to enhance competitiveness in North America."

According to the memo, the NACC made recommendations in three areas: border-crossing facilitation, standards and regulatory cooperation, and energy integration.

The memo suggested NACC members were getting impatient, charging the speed of SPP regulatory change was too slow. The members complained of "the private sector's seeming inability to influence the pace of regulatory change 'from the bottom up.'"

"Some NACC representatives," the memo comments, "felt that direct signals from ministers were required if work was to advance at a pace rapid enough to address challenges from more dynamic international competitors – particularly China. The subtext was clear: In the absence of ministerial endorsement, bureaucracies are unlikely to act on the more challenging recommendations."

The memo noted the ministers agreed at their Feb. 23 meeting to finalize by June a plan to create a coordinating body to prepare for the "North American response to an outbreak of avian or pandemic influenza." The leaders are expected to finalize the plan at the August summit.

The memo also reported ministers agreed to create a coordinating body on emergency management similar to that set up for avian or pandemic flu. The governance structure of coordinating body was also scheduled for completion in June, so it could be presented to the leaders for final approval at the August summit.

A comment at the end of the memo said the ministers at their Feb. 23 meeting "acknowledged that the SPP was largely unknown or misunderstood and needed to be better communicated beyond the officials and the business groups involved."

WND has reported that as many as 10,000 protesters plan to assemble in Quebec to show opposition to the summit.

The Corbett Report, a Canadian blog that first reported on the memo obtained by Harder, noted the term "Security and Prosperity" was first used by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, or CCOCE, in a Jan. 23, 2003, report entitled, "Security and Prosperity: Toward a New Canada-United States Partnership in North America."

CCOCE's membership consists of 150 of Canada's leading businesses. In the U.S., the Chamber of Commerce would be considered a counterpart.

WND previously reported on National Security Presidential Directive No. 51 and Homeland Security Presidential Directive No. 20, which allocate to the office of the president the authority to direct all levels of government in the event he declares a national emergency.

WND also has previously reported that under SPP, the military of the U.S. and Canada are turning USNORTHCOM into a domestic military command structure, with authority extending to Mexico, even though Mexico has not formally joined with the current U.S.-Canadian USNORTHCOM command structure.

July 27, 2007

Congress Moves to Limit SPP Funding

In an historic, first vote in Congress to restrict funding for the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) of North America, yesterday the House approved by a vote of 362 to 63 an amendment to H.R. 3074 (Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008) “prohibiting the use of funds to participate in a working group pursuant to the Security and Prosperity Partnership.”

There’s been a growing buzz this year over the SPP and how it’s being used as a steppingstone to a North American Union (NAU). Eighteen state legislatures have introduced resolutions asking Congress to block the NAU; three states passed their anti-NAU resolution in one house; and three states passed their anti-NAU resolution in both houses.

Although there is a resolution (H. Con. Res. 40) in the House of Representatives “Expressing the sense of Congress that the United States should not … enter into a North American Union with Mexico and Canada,” there has been virtually no congressional oversight over SPP activities, such as the numerous “working groups” with representatives from the United States, Mexico, and Canada. That is to say, virtually no congressional oversight until yesterday, when the House voted overwhelmingly to approve Rep. Duncan Hunter’s (R-Calif.) amendment to prohibit any funds appropriated by the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act of 2008 from being used for U.S. participation in SPP working groups.

In a related development, on July 23, Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) introduced an amendment to H.R. 3093 (Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008), stating “None of the funds in this Act shall be made available for the Security and Prosperity Partnership.” Thus, this amendment would permit no funding for the SPP from the funds appropriated for the Commerce Department in 2008. This is highly significant because the Commerce Department coordinates the “Prosperity” component of the SPP, including maintaining the official www.spp.gov website. A vote is possible on this amendment as early as today or tomorrow.


July 23, 2007

Canadians Completely Unaware of Looming North American Union

In just over a month’s time, on August 20, the most powerful president in the world will be arriving in Montebello, Quebec for a two-day conference. President George W. Bush will be meeting with Stephen Harper and their Mexican counterpart, Felipe Calderon. So far, the silence from the Canadian and American media has been deafening.

Talk to 90% of people on the street and they won’t know about this upcoming conference, and if by a slim chance they do, they won’t know the purpose of the meeting or why the leaders of Canada, United States and Mexico are meeting in the dog days of summer under what amounts to a veil of secrecy.

So, what’s this upcoming conference all about, and why are the newspapers, radio and television keeping silent about it?

The purpose of the upcoming conference is to ratify the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, which was initiated by Bush, Martin and Fox in 2005 in Waco, Texas. Essentially, this so-called ‘partnership’ will result in what the politicians refer to as ‘continental integration’-newspeak for a North American Union- and basically a harmonization of 100’s of regulations, policies and laws.

In layman’s terms, it means that once this ‘partnership’ has been ratified which is a fait accompli; we will be following in the footsteps of the European Union. It will mean that Canada will become part of the North American Union by 2010, and that our resources, agricultural, health and environment issues, to name a few, will be controlled not by Canada, but by the government of the North American Union.

A huge ‘NAFTA’ highway, one quarter of a mile wide, is already being built in Texas, where private land is being expropriated, and will eventually reach the Manitoba border.

Water will be the ‘issue’ of this century, as more than 25 states in the U.S. are currently in desperate need. Where do you think they will get the water they need?

The United States is already guaranteed 60% of our natural gas resources from NAFTA, which mean that even during emergencies when we need energy, we will have to import it, while we are forced to export gas to the U.S. This is just one example of how Canada is being shortchanged, and it’s only going to get worse.

Why has there been absolutely NO public consultation on the biggest issue (North American Union) facing Canadians since Confederation? Why isn’t Guy Lauzon, our local MP for Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry, holding town hall meetings, bringing in cabinet ministers and explaining how the emerging North American Union will affect our Canadian way of life? Ask the citizens of Canada for their feedback. Isn’t that how democracy is supposed to work?

Folks, I suggest that Mr. Lauzon isn’t even aware of the SPP or the North American Union, which explains why the Conservative government has denied all Canadians information to which they are entitled. If he does have something to say about it, then let him raise the issue in our riding.

Furthermore, the example of the North American Union illustrates that our government claims to be democratic, but in fact, does it act like one, or does it prefer to make the big decisions at committee level behind closed doors, while masking its real intentions?

The ratification of the SPP, and the emergence of the North American Union have been organized entirely by government committees and private enterprise. I refer readers to my website at www.realitycheck.typepad.com

for further information on the North American Union.

If our citizenry allows the North American Union to come into existence, then our way of life will change drastically, for the years to come. With privatization of our resources, increased foreign ownership, and a Canadian government with less and less authority, our children and grandchildren will be come ‘North Americans’ and our quality of life will drastically decline.

The founding fathers of Canada must be rolling over in their graves.

Global Research Articles by Kevin Parkinson

July 18, 2007

The Dangers of the North American Union

Every American should watch this video!

If you care about your country then get off your ASS and save it from the Elitist, the Fascist and the big Corporations that are stealing it right before your eyes!

WAKE UP AMERICA!!! Your country is being ERASED from existance!!!

July 17, 2007

Police nix meeting near world leaders

Public forum 6 kilometres from Montebello too close for comfort

The Ottawa Citizen
Thu 12 Jul 2007
Page: A1 / FRONT
Byline: Don Butler, With files from Roger Collier

Police have derailed plans for a public forum on the Security and Prosperity Partnership that was to take place six kilometers from where the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. will gather next month for a summit. Several weeks ago, the Council of Canadians put a $100 deposit to rent the community centre in Papineauville, not far from the summit site in Montebello, for the public forum.

The forum was scheduled for Aug.19, the day before Prime Minister Stephen Harper, U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon are due to start two days of meetings on the security partnership, a controversial initiative aimed at more closely aligning the three countries in a variety of areas, and to usher in the North American Union.

But Brent Patterson, the council’s director of organizing, said a Papineauville official called late Tuesday to say the RCMP, the Surete du Quebec and the U.S. army would not allow the municipality to rent the facility to the council for the planned forum. Mr. Patterson said Frederic Castonguay, the town’s general manager, reported that Guy Cote, of the Quebec police force in Montreal, had told him the council “is an activist organization opposed to the summit and that it would not be wise to have us set up in the community centre.” Mr. Castonguay yesterday confirmed he had been called by Mr. Cote, who told him that the police and U.S. army need the community centre as a base of operations for summit security.

“They didn’t want us to rent it to anyone because they need the room there to put equipment and special vehicles,” he said, adding the police position was not open to debate. “There was no choice.” Sgt. Marc Butz, a spokesman for the Surete du Quebec in Montreal, said police reserved the community centre “because it’s strategic and it’s for the security of everybody.” He denied that police reserved the site to keep activists at bay. “We didn’t take the place because it’s an activist group. We need it for the operation.”

Mr. Patterson reacted angrily to the police move. “It’s deplorable that we are being prevented from bringing together a panel of writers, academics and parliamentarians to share their concerns about the Security and Prosperity Partnership with Canadians,” he said. The Council of Canadians, a citizens’ organization dedicated to promoting Canadian sovereignty, was formed in 1985 in response to policies initiated by the Brian Mulroneyled government.

Members have protested against everything from free trade with the U.S. to the introduction of Bovine Growth Hormone into the Canadian milk supply. Since 2004, the council has concentrated on discouraging economic integration with the U.S. It views the Papineauville community centre as an ideal location for the public forum because of its size – it can hold 1,000 people – and proximity to Chateau Montebello, where the leaders will meet Aug. 20-21.

It has already begun lining up speakers for the forum. Along with council chair Maude Barlow, it had tentative acceptance from University of British Columbia professor Michael Byers and was also approaching parliamentarians. The loss of the centre throws those plans into disarray. “We will have to scramble a bit and see what options we can figure out,” Mr. Patterson said. Moving the forum to Ottawa is the likeliest fallback position, he added. So far, police have said little about security arrangements for the partnership summit, which is being held in Canada for the first time.

Last month, a town official in Montebello told Mr. Patterson police were planning to erect a 25-kilometre security perimeter around the town, with checkpoints as far away as Thurso and Hawkesbury. The Montebello official said police were going to turn back any vehicle carrying more than five people. At the time, the RCMP said security planning was still in progress and no decisions had yet been made on its effect on people living and working in the area.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, increased threats have resulted in increased security at meetings between international leaders. A 25-kilometre security perimeter is a reasonable precaution, said Barry Cooper, a political science professor at the University of Calgary. “The easiest way to ensure safety is distance,” he said. A 6.5-kilometre security zone surrounded Kananaskis, Alta., during the G8 Summit held there in 2002. Many other security measures were in place at the summit, including ground forces armed with automatic rifles, an air-defence anti-tank system, a 150-kilometre no-fly zone and a 24-hour patrol of the skies by a fleet of fighter jets. Mr. Cooper says the Montebello summit will have a similar degree of security.

“You can be sure it will be pretty strong. I wouldn’t advise anyone to try to get through the 25 kilometres.”

Material reprinted with the express permission of :
“Ottawa Citizen Group Inc.”, a CanWest Partnership.


July 10, 2007

China Wins NAFTA Super Highway Battle

Red China is investing heavily in developing deep-water ports in Mexico to bring an unprecedented volume of containers into the U.S. along the emerging NAFTA Super Highway. This move signals China's emergence as the unexpected economic winner in the North American Union free market.

Hutchinson Ports, a wholly owned subsidiary of China's giant Hutchinson Whampoa Limited (HWL) is investing millions to expand the deep water ports the company manages at Lazaro Cardenas and Manzanillo on Mexico's Pacific coast. Now Hutchinson Ports is pledging millions more to develop Punta Colonet, today a desolate Mexican bay in Baja California. Mexico plans over the next seven years to dredge and convert Punta Colonet into a 10 to 20 berth deep-water port facility capable of processing some 6 million standard 20-foot-long TEUs (industry terminology for the "Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit" that describes a single standard container).

According to Judicial Watch, "Hutchinson, Whampoa, Ltd. is the holding company of billionaire Li Ka-shing, a well-known businessman, whose companies make up 15 percent of the market capitalization of the Hong Kong Stock Market." A Judicial Watch complaint filed in 2002, at the time HWL was purchasing the then-bankrupt Global Crossing, notes that Li Ka-Shing's holdings includes ports, telecom, and energy assets around the world.

According to a declassified U.S. government intelligence report that Judicial Watch obtained in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, "Li is directly connected to Beijing and is willing to use his business influence to further the aims of the Chinese Government." Judicial Watch had objected that "Li Ka-shing's agency relationship to the Communist Chinese should disqualify him from owning Global Crossing's network, which controls a significant percent of all the fiber optics currently leaving the United States."

Global Crossing was a Clinton Administration darling, noted for turning former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe's $100,000 investment into an $18 million personal fortune. Global Crossing's bold move to control the U.S. international fiber-optics network over-reached, ending in a corrupt corporate melt-down that was an unfortunate prelude to the Enron debacle. Hutchinson Ports was forced to drop the bid to purchase Global Crossing when the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS) refused to approve the transaction on national security grounds.

Li Ka-shing's Hutchinson Ports also operates both ends of the Panama Canal, which we have previously documented was returned to Panama under the Carter administration by National Security Council advisor, Robert Pastor, whom we have called the "Father of the North American Union." HWL also has business dealings with the China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO), China's largest shipping line, which is owned by the Chinese People's Liberation Army. In 1998, Congress blocked on national security grounds an attempt by the Clinton administration to allow COSCO to lease the abandoned Long Beach Naval Station.

Still, HWL has established a North American beachhead, despite the continuing security concerns. The Standard in China reports that today COSCO has established a little-known presence in U.S. ports, co-managing a terminal with Seattle-based SSA Marine at the mouth of Long Beach's port. Remarkably, in the aftermath of the Dubai Ports World blow-up in Congress, the Bush administration hired HWL to operate in the Bahamas sophisticated equipment designed to detect nuclear material inside TEUs headed for the U.S., without requiring U.S. customs agents to be present. Now, investing millions to deepen Mexico's ports in a plan to access the developing NAFTA corridors, HWL has found perhaps the most effective backdoor of all for gaining access to the continental U.S. market.

A set of China-promoting business projections are driving the frenzy to open Mexican ports to NAFTA corridors. Container traffic from China and the Far East has exploded, with industry experts expecting the cargo traffic from China to double by 2020. Today jumbo cargo ships containing 8,000 TEUs routinely cruise Pacific Trade routes. Unloading 8,000 containers from a single ship can take up to 3 days, even with experienced dock workers and state-of-the-art cranes.

West coast ports such as Los Angeles and Long Beach are regularly described as overwhelmed with containers arriving from China and the Far East, resulting in a virtual gridlock that causes expensive delays. As a result, "inland ports" such as the Free Trade Alliance of San Antonio and Kansas City Smartport, both members of the North America's SuperCorridor Coalition Inc. (NASCO), are exploring with enthusiasm opening NAFTA corridors to facilitate the movement from Mexican ports 50% to 60% of all containers entering the U.S. from China that are destined for delivery in the heart of the U.S.

Why the sudden enthusiasm for cheap goods from China? The Bush Administration continues to give the green light to mass-marketing retailers such as Wal-Mart, Kmart, and Home Depot, to name just a few, to import Chinese and Far Eastern goods without restraint, despite their under-market nature. Evidently the Bush Administration has decided to follow the path set by the Clinton Administration in the decision to turn a blind eye to the repeated accusations that many of the goods from China and the Far East are produced in slave labor prison camps where abuses of human rights are everyday occurrences.

Opponents of Bush Administration free-trade policies, such as Global Policy Forum, have argued for enforcing "anti-dumping" provisions commonly designed in traditional international trade agreements to prevent the import of under-market goods produced by countries exploiting near-zero labor costs. The argument is that in opening the U.S. to cheap Chinese goods, we are leading a worldwide "race to the bottom," in which "the only priority is cost effective production, at the expense of workers, resources and sustainability." The result is that the international capitalists owning companies such as Wal-Mart earn additional billions, while U.S. manufacturing continues to out-source an increasing number of jobs and poor countries such as Mexico are only pulled deeper into poverty.

Strong conservatives are concerned today that China is the only clear winning in NAFTA. William Hawkins of the U.S. Business and Industry Council, a strong critic of our open borders with Mexico and Canada, has recently written that Mexico itself has filed 90 complaints against China at the World Trade Organization. Hawkins has argued that "the new energy being put into expanding the transportation network from Mexico into the United States heralds the collapse of NAFTA, and further discredits the trade strategy followed by the administrations of George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush."

Upon closer examination, something other than the "success" of the NAFTA model, as sold to the American voter, is propelling all this transportation and Smart Port activity-and that is the massive wave of imports from the previously unrecognized export superstar, China. U.S. west coast ports are swamped with container ships filled with Chinese goods, and a scramble is on to find new Pacific ports to bring even more Chinese products into the United States.

Hawkins views the plans to develop NAFTA Super-Highways as a disaster:
"What is being built is truly a 'Highway of Death' for both NAFTA and CAFTA. The resulting turmoil in the region will be felt in the United States, and will be an additional benefit to Beijing as the rising geopolitical challenger to American power."

Yet, as sound as Hawkins' arguments are, their subtly is likely to be lost on the Wal-Mart capitalists who see rising quarterly profits and handsome executive bonuses from importing an ever-increasing volume of cheap Chinese goods into the U.S. market. So too, the Robert Pastor enthusiasts can be counted upon to welcome any reason to knit together the U.S., Canada, and Mexico into a North American Union, even if the driving force turns out to be a super-highway and inland port transportation scheme designed to benefit the Communist Chinese. Cheap Mexican remarkably undercut by the Chinese in manufacturing and assembly can still be used in transport, to land the Chinese goods on Mexican docks and then carry the Chinese containers by truck and train into the heart of North American.

Increasingly gone is the dream that NAFTA would stimulate the development of a Mexican middle class as a means of economically developing Mexico itself. At the dawning of NAFTA, few expected that Chinese slave labor would be allowed to undercut the sweat-shop maquiladoras that developed south of the border in the 1990s. Even fewer expected that the only Mexican labor that would remain competitive under NAFTA would be Mexican dock workers, truck drivers, and railroad workers -- and these only because these Mexican "government union" workers undercut U.S. Longshoremen, Teamsters, and United Transportation Union labor.

As for Mexico's underclass masses, Vicente Fox and his successor can be relied upon to maintain their mantra, "Go North," at least as long as President Bush and Congress remain unwilling to secure the border. In the end, the American middle class will pay the tab of increased social costs for millions of more uneducated, unskilled Spanish-speaking immigrants from Mexico and the other Hispanic countries south of the border. At the same time, the squeeze on middle class employment opportunities will intensify as NAFTA super-highways and U.S. "inland port" cities replete with Mexican custom facilities encourage yet more outsourcing to China.

All this sounds like a good deal for China. But are cheap sneakers at Wal-Mart really worth the damage being done to the most successful middle class ever built in world history? Aristotle's Politics give reason to ask whether the U.S. constitutional republic we have enjoyed for 230 years will long endure a middle class squeezed by an original NAFTA market that evolves into a European-style North American Union dominated by the Chinese.


July 06, 2007

Globalists To Formally Propose Merger Of U.S., Canada, Mexico

Globalist political heavyweights are preparing to formally propose to Congress the merger of the U.S., Canada and Mexico into a North American Union at the end of summer after they held secret meetings to devise a plan that will be presented to representatives of all three governments.

"A powerful think tank chaired by former Sen. Sam Nunn and guided by trustees including Richard Armitage, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Harold Brown, William Cohen and Henry Kissinger, is in the final stages of preparing a report to the White House and U.S. Congress on the benefits of integrating the U.S., Mexico and Canada into one political, economic and security bloc," reports World Net Daily.

"The data collected for the report is based on seven secret roundtable sessions involving between 21 and 45 people and conducted by CSIS. The participants are politicians, business people, labor leaders and academics from all three countries with equal representation."

The report is entitled "North American Future 2025 Project" and was prepared in collaboration with the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), who were previously instrumental in the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994.

The plan outlines an agenda to unify the three countries into a European Union style power bloc.

Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) documents released under the FOIA show that a wide range of US administrative law is being re-written in stealth under this program to "integrate" and "harmonize" with administrative law in Mexico and Canada, just as has become commonplace within the EU.

The documents contain references to upwards of 13 working groups within an entire organized infrastructure that has drawn from officials within most areas of administrative government including U.S. departments of State, Homeland Security, Commerce, Treasury, Agriculture, Transportation, Energy, Health and Human Services, and the office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

The United States and the European Union have signed up to a new transatlantic economic partnership that will see regulatory standards "harmonized" and will lay the basis for a merging of the US and EU into one single market.

18 states have introduced resolutions calling on their federal representatives to halt work on the North American Union (they include Virginia and South Carolina). Three of these states (Idaho, Montana and Oklahoma) have passed their resolutions.

22 U.S. Congressmen, including NC's Virginia Foxx and Walter Jones, along with all three Republican Congressmen running for President, have signed on as co-sponsors of HCR40, which calls on the executive branch to end all work on the North American Union and NAFTA superhighway.


July 01, 2007

CNN reports on Texas Tolls and TTC Protest at Capitol 3/2/07

CNN's Lou Dobbs tonight report about the Texas Independence Day protest against the Trans-Texas Corridor (part of the NAFTA superhighway) and privatization of Texas public highways (such as SH 121 toll contract with Cintra).

Learn more about the TTC and freeway tolls at TexasTollParty.com

Why does the Bush Administration HATE America?

US-South Korea trade pact signed

WASHINGTON --The United States and South Korea signed a free-trade agreement Saturday that reflected U.S. calls for stricter labor and environmental standards.
South Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong and U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab signed the agreement in Washington, meeting a deadline under President Bush's expiring special trade powers.

That "fast track" authority prevents lawmakers from amending the deal before voting on it. The trade deal still needs to be approved by lawmakers in both countries to take effect.

Bush said Saturday that the Korean agreement would generate exports for U.S. farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and service suppliers. He urged Congress to ratify the agreement.

While the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups applauded the agreement, it faces opposition in Congress. House leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, say they will not support the agreement as negotiated.

The agreement would eliminate and lower tariffs and other trade barriers in a wide range of industrial goods and services, including automobiles, agricultural products and financial services.

South Korea also agreed to change its tax system for larger vehicles, which the U.S. contended was discriminatory. South Korea currently sells more than 700,000 vehicles a year in the United States, while U.S. makers sell about 5,000 in South Korea.

South Korea is the United States' seventh-largest trade partner. Bilateral trade between the two countries last year reached $78 billion.

The two countries concluded the free-trade agreement in April after 10 months of tough negotiations, only to have it hung up over last-minute amendments requested by Washington. The amendments incorporate stricter labor and environmental guidelines set by the new Democratic majority in Congress for free trade deals.

The U.S. also concluded free trade deals with Colombia, Panama and Peru ahead of Saturday's deadline.