TORONTO, March 11, 2014 /CNW/ - Prime Minister Stephen Harper's
announcement, in South Korea, of a 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.
"We cannot stand by a deal that secures a one-way flow of Korean auto
imports into the Canadian market, undermining the jobs and industry on
which so many Canadians depend, while precious little is done to
strengthen our imports to Korea," said Unifor National President Jerry
While there will be a three-year phased-in removal of Canadian auto
tariffs on Korean vehicles and an immediate removal of Korean tariffs
on Canadian exports, negotiators were unable to win similar protections
to the ones the United States negotiated in its free trade agreement
with South Korea.
The US deal with South Korea included protections against import surges
into the US market and a ground-breaking "snap-back" provision which
enables the US government to return tariffs to pre-agreement levels if
Korean non-tariff barriers limit US exports. Even with these
provisions, the US has suffered a worsening auto trade deficit.
Unifor and key industry stakeholders had made several suggestions that
would have ensured expanded trade with Korea was fair and mutually
Tying reductions in tariffs to measureable targets in reducing trade
imbalances in key industries, such as auto.
Requiring Korean firms to invest and create jobs here as a condition of
Ensuring government keeps the necessary powers to intervene directly to
remedy trade imbalances.
None of these recommendations were included in the deal.
"The problem is that Prime Minister Harper did not address the current
trade imbalance. We needed our political leadership to broker a deal
that addressed the reality that we have 100 000 Korean-made cars being
imported to our market, while we are exporting only 100 cars to the
Korean market," stressed Dias.
Canada sold $3.7 billion worth of goods to Korea in 2012, but imported
$6.4 billion. Unifor research reveals that 33,000 manufacturing jobs
could be lost in a trade deal with Korea.
"We expected our political leadership to stand up for the rights, jobs
and economic security of Canadians - and they have failed to do that,"
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, representing
more than 300,000 workers, including more than 39,000 in the auto
industry. Unifor was founded Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian
Autoworkers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union
For further information:
For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Director Sarah Blackstock at firstname.lastname@example.org or (cell) 416-949-1072, or Unifor Communications National Representative Stuart Laidlaw at email@example.com or (cell) 647-385-4054.