TORONTO, March 10, 2014 /CNW/ - Free trade with South Korea is an
unneeded challenge for Canada's auto sector just as it is getting back
on solid footing, Canada's largest union in the private sector says.
"We cannot stand by a deal that allows Korean car makers to flood
Canada, while doing little or nothing to get our cars into Korea,"
Unifor National President Jerry Dias said before details of the deal
"If Korean companies want to sell more in Canada, they should be
required to make those cars here."
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has flown to South Korea to release
details of a trade deal with that country that will have profound
impact on Canada's manufacturing sector.
Unifor and key industry stakeholders have made several suggestions that
would ensure expanded trade with Korea is fair and mutually beneficial,
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.
Dias pointed to the United States, where a free trade deal with South
Korea has only worsened the trade imbalance, as an indication of what
Canada might expect.
"Two years after the U.S. signed a similar deal, none of the benefits
and all of the downsides came true," Dias said. "The situation has only
gotten worse for Americans."
Canada sold $3.7 billion worth of goods to Korea in 2012, but imported
$6.4 billion. The result was a trade deficit of almost $3 billion, and
the numbers for 2013 look even worse. Based on preliminary data, the
deficit swelled to almost $4 billion last year as exports fell and
imports grew - thanks in large part to a powerful alliance between
government and corporations in Korea to boost its manufacturing sector.
"That alliance, with its subsidies and preferential policies, has been
good for Korea," Dias said, adding that research from Unifor shows
33,000 manufacturing jobs could be lost in a trade deal with Korea.
Much of our exports to South Korea are raw materials such as coal,
copper, aluminum and wood pulp. They send us back cars, phones and
electronics. Lots of cars, phones and electronics- almost 100,000 cars,
for example, compared with fewer than 100 Canadian-made cars going to
"The survival of our middle class depends on stable jobs, not exporting
our riches to be manufactured in another country," 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, 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.