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Council of Canadians critiques Canada-South Korea free trade agreement

The Canadian Press reports, “Prime Minister Stephen Harper departed Sunday for South Korea, where he is widely expected to complete another long round of free-trade negotiations that his critics were denouncing as secretive and potentially bad for Canadian workers. It wasn’t known whether Harper planned to sign the final text of a free-trade deal with South Korea — a laborious, decade-long, on-again, off-again process — or was simply going to announce an agreement-in-principle in a staged photo-op.”

“Stuart Trew, a trade expert with the Council of Canadians, said he expects any deal will only widen Canada’s trade deficit with Korea. ‘If things go the same way as they did for the U.S. in the U.S.-Korea FTA, Canada can expect zero export growth and an increased trade deficit’, said Trew. ‘Considering how similar U.S. and Canadian exports are, I think it’s the most likely situation.'”

The Globe and Mail adds, “One major Canadian company, Ford, has warned the deal will hurt Canada’s auto sector by tilting the playing field in favour of Korean manufacturers. The Conservatives say they will address ‘many’ of the auto-sector’s concerns.”

The article also notes, “‘We support a good trade agreement with South Korea and we support increased trade relations with Asia … on the downside, we have no details and trade deals are all about details’, said Don Davies, the NDP International Trade critic.”

Further reading

Unpopular U.S.-Korea free trade deal on steadier ground after Korean election; CAW calls for end to Canada-Korea and other FTAs in new report