Unifor Criticizes Canada-Korea Free Trade Deal

In a statement issued by the president of Canada’s largest private sector union, Unifor, it was highlighted that the free trade deal with South Korea is an unnecessary challenge for Canada’s auto sector just as it is getting back on solid footing. Unifor president, Jerry Dias, mentioned in his remarks that “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,” complaining that “If Korean companies want to sell more in Canada, they should be required to make those cars here.”

The union president essentially stated that if Canada wants to expand trade with Korea, it needs to be fair and mutually beneficial, which could be achieved by tying reductions in tariffs to measurable targets in reducing trade imbalances in key industries, including automotive. Furthermore, it was suggested that the Korean companies should be made to invest and create jobs in Canada as a binding condition in order to avail tariff-free access.

The group stated that the federal government should keep necessary powers to intervene directly to remedy trade imbalances as it is a very crucial technicality. Dias referred to the US-Korea deal, alleging that free trade deal with South Korea only worsened the trade imbalance for the country, and it should serve as an indication of what Canada should expect. Dias stated that “two years after the US signed a similar deal, none of the benefits and all of the downsides came true,” and since “the situation has only gotten worse for Americans.”

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