Masse on Auto Industry

Automobile Industry

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, for every dollar we export to Korea, Canada imports $268 of Korean made vehicles. This means Canada has a $3 billion trade deficit with South Korea equal to 15,000 lost manufacturing jobs. Now the government is walking blindly into free trade talks with Korea without thinking out the consequences to the auto industry.

Will the government insist that the Korean auto deal that is happening right now will put Canadian cars on equal footing in Korea or it will ditch the deal altogether?

Hon. David Emerson (Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada has been working for about 18 months on consultations with Canadians and negotiations with Korea on the potential for a free trade agreement with Korea. I can tell the hon. member that we would only enter into such an agreement if there were substantial benefits to the Canadian economy.

We have consulted extensively with the automotive industry on both the Canadian side and the U.S. side. The hon. member should also know the Government of the United States is also negotiating with Korea. The last thing he should want is the Americans to have a deal and us not to have one.

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, this is not just about free trade. It is about one way trade that is happening right now and there are protectionist items that are currently preventing Canadian vehicles from being exported to South Korea. Those are regulations and rules that need to be cleaned up first.

Why does the government not get action on that file now before selling us out like it did on softwood lumber?

Hon. David Emerson (Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member might want to ask himself about his logic. He talks about a trade deficit in automotive parts, accessories and vehicles with Korea. What about the relationship with the United States? Will he stand up and say that we should have balanced trade in automotive products with the United States and kill the thousands of jobs that have been brought to Canada because we do have a surplus with the United States?

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