May 4, 2007

CVMA calls on federal government for access to South Korean trade

Toronto, Ontario – The Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association (CVMA) has called on the federal government to insist that Canadian-manufactured automobiles receive the same access to South Korea as Canadian beef.

“Canadian auto trade with South Korea has been as much of a one-way street as it has been for many of our food products, so forgive us if we ask ‘where’s the beef?’ when it comes to ensuring access to South Korea for our cars,” says Mark Nantais, CVMA President. The remarks were made in reaction to Foreign Affairs Minister Peter McKay’s comments that a new trade agreement is imminent with South Korea following that country’s promise to lift its ban on Canadian beef imports.

“The auto sector is a strong supporter of freer trade and would support a genuinely reciprocal agreement with South Korea if it actually ensured fair access for our Canadian-manufactured automotive products,” Nantais says. “Given the importance of the auto industry to Canada’s economy and international trade, we expect the Canadian government to achieve necessary guarantees that South Korea will eliminate its non-tariff trade barriers to cars and light-duty trucks and put in place meaningful mechanisms to prevent them from arising again in the future.”

The CVMA says that last year, over 125,000 Korean-built vehicles were imported into Canada, while fewer than 500 Canadian-built vehicles were allowed into South Korea. All auto manufacturers from all countries only accounted for four per cent of Korea’s one-million-unit new-vehicle sales market in 2006. The direct result for Canada, the CVMA says, is a massive trade deficit in finished vehicles of $1.5 billion that accounted for 70 per cent of Canada’s total trade deficit with Korea in 2006.

The CVMA is a national association representing manufacturers of light- and heavy-duty vehicles, including DaimlerChrysler Canada Inc., Ford Motor Company of Canada Ltd., General Motors of Canada Ltd., and International Truck & Engine Corporation Canada.

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