NDP Secures Hearings on Proposed South Korea Trade Deal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NOVEMBER 23, 2007

NDP PUSHES REVIEW AND DEBATE ON FREE TRADE NEGOTIATIONS:
MP Peter Julian succeeds in pushing for parliamentary review and debate on
Canada-Korea free trade negotiations

OTTAWA – An NDP motion calling for extensive hearings and parliamentary scrutiny of the current Canada-Korea free trade negotiations passed at the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade today. The motion was tabled by NDP International Trade Critic Peter Julian (Burnaby-New Westminster).

The motion reads as follows:

“That the Standing Committee on International Trade conduct extensive hearings on the implications of the Canada-Korea bilateral agreement currently being negotiated, specifically hearing testimony from a wide range of sectors and diverse regions of Canada, and that the committee investigate alternative ways to build and strengthen Canada’s trade relationship with Korea, and then once completed, that the committee report this study to the House.”

“The Harper government must prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that any trade arrangement between Canada and Korea shall incorporate measures that guarantee the protection of the jobs and quality of life of Canadian working families. At stake are the 140,000 high quality Canadian jobs in the automotive industry, as well as jobs in our shipyard industries. Parliament must be allowed to scrutinize the government impact studies, and any trade deal inspired by the failed NAFTA model should not be on the table,” said Julian.

“Past trade agreements, by both Liberals and Conservatives, have devastated our auto sector to the point that Canada has lost its automotive trade surplus and is now a net importer. This will continue the policy of exporting Canadian jobs for short term political gain at the expense of ordinary working Canadians,” lamented NDP Transport and Automotive Critic Brian Masse. “It’s time for them to make these discussions public and prove to Canadians and our car companies that they want to keep jobs here.”

According to a study released by the Canadian Auto Workers union, which bases estimates on the average of real-world experience of five existing bilateral free trade deals involving Canada as a partner, a free trade agreement with Korea would grant greater access to our market to Korean producers and widen our substantial bilateral auto deficit. Over 33,000 net jobs lost in Canada are projected. Auto imports from Korea have grown almost 600% while, in contrast, Korea’s automotive purchases from Canada have declined by 90 percent since 2000.

Employment in the Canadian automotive industry has been steadily declining since 2000. Almost 6600 Canadian workers have lost their jobs since 2005. “The facts show that for every dollar received from Canadian exports to Korea, we import $186 worth of Korean-made automotive products. The NDP believes in stronger bilateral relationships but certain protections must be negotiated, and the Conservative and Liberal governments have proven that they cannot be trusted to do that,” says Julian.

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For more information, please contact:
Office of Brian Masse: 519-255-1631
Office of Peter Julian: 613-992-4214