TORONTO, June 12, 2014 /CNW/ - The release of the full text of the proposed free trade deal with South Korea does nothing to alleviate concerns that the deal will seriously harm Canada's manufacturing sector, and sends the Canadian economy heading in the wrong direction, Unifor National President Jerry Dias says.
"We can see now in black and white that the Harper government has signed a deal that will allow Korean-made cars to flood into Canada," Unifor National President Jerry Dias said. "At the same time, there's little in this document that gives much hope of us sending more cars there."
Unifor has called for Korean companies wanting to sell more cars in Canada to be required to set up manufacturing plants here.
"Canada already has a massive trade deficit with Korea, and this deal will only make it worse," Dias said.
Canada sold $3.7 billion worth of goods to Korea in 2012, but imported $6.4 billion for a trade deficit of almost $3 billion. Dias said South Korean manufacturing has thrived thanks to a close relationship between government and industry.
As with the Harper government's proposed trade deal with Europe, Dias said the South Korea deal will encourage the export of Canadian resources, to be manufactured overseas and resold to Canadians as finished value-added products.
Dias said a better economic strategy would be to establish policies that encourage Canadian resources to be manufactured here, creating good jobs now, and the prospect of a stable future for our young people.
"We are a country rich in resources. We can make things with them - but more importantly, we can create the jobs and stability Canadians want for themselves and their children," Dias said.
Unifor will kick-start efforts toward building such a job-centred economic policy next fall when it hosts the Good Jobs Summit in Toronto, bringing together stakeholders from across the country to talk about what is need to create good jobs for this generation and the next.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.