Impact of Canada-South Korea free trade deal on auto industry must be monitored: Unifor

TORONTO, March 14, 2014 /CNW/ - The recently announced free trade agreement between Canada and South Korea poses a serious threat to Canada's auto industry, says Unifor, Canada's largest union in the private sector.

"The federal government negotiated a deal with South Korea that does not include sufficient protections for Canada's auto industry," Dias stressed again.

Canada sold $3.7 billion worth of goods to Korea in 2012, but imported $6.4 billion – a $2.7 billion trade deficit (comprised mostly of auto products) that only stands to worsen under this deal, Dias said.

Unifor research reveals that 33,000 manufacturing jobs could be lost in a trade deal with Korea.

"Parliament should give this trade deal a very careful look before signing off on it and fully determine whether this deal stands to benefit Canadian workers and the long-term sustainability of Canada's economy as a whole," Dias said. 

In failing to win the same safeguard provisions as afforded the U.S. in their trade pact with Korea, Dias    said at the very minimum, the government needs to create a mechanism to comprehensively and regularly monitor the change and the impact of trade flows resulting from the deal and ensure Canada is equipped to take action to protect our auto industry.

Unifor is encouraged by the announcement yesterday that the Ontario government has asked the federal government to establish a Task Force to monitor the impact of the deal on the auto industry.

"This is not the solution, but it's a step in the right direction," Dias said.

To see Unifor's Briefing Kit and Fact Sheet on trade with South Korea, go to: http://www.unifor.org/en/search/content/korea.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, with more than 300,000 members, including more than 26,000 in health and social services. Unifor was founded Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Autoworkers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.

SOURCE Unifor

For further information: please contact Sarah Blackstock, Unifor Communications, 416-949-1072.