January 24, 2014
Domestic automakers lobbying hard to kill deal
As Canadian and South Korean governments come closer to inking a free trade deal, domestic automakers are ramping up lobbying and speaking publicly against an agreement, they say, could do irreparable harm to local industry.
“We understand that [the Canadian government] need[s] to look for what’s in the best interests of Canada,” Dianne Craig, president and chief executive of Ford Motor Co. of Canada, said in an interview with the Globe & Mail.
“But, frankly, autos are the greatest driver of GDP and we think we need to have a pretty strong voice in this conversation. This is not good for autos, which means it’s not good for the economy, which means it’s not good for Canadians.”
Of contention is a 6.1-percent tariff applied to cars imported from South Korea. Also, the South Korean market has not traditionally been open to imports. A free trade agreement could exacerbate the already large $2.7 billion trade deficit (2012) between Canada and South Korea, of which 80-percent is due to automotive trade. TTAC states Canada imported 131,174 South Korean-built vehicles in 2012, while Canada only exported 3,000 cars to the Asian nation.
“To us, they are not a good fair trade partner and they have proven that in the last two agreements,” Craig said. “That is our concern for Canada. All you have to do is look at the data and it speaks volumes.”