NEWS: NDP demands vote on impending Canada-South Korea Trade Deal

OTTAWA - Today, NDP MPs condemn the Harper government for fast-tracking Canada into a free trade deal with South Korea without any public debate or comprehensive impact assessment.

"We want to build stronger relations with South Korea, but we can't use the failed model of NAFTA to build stronger relations. We need a different approach. Trade deals carry immense consequences on people and must come before parliament to be debated and for a vote. The government must release the full impact assessment on jobs, the environment and all affected industries,” stated NDP International Trade Critic Peter Julian, (Burnaby-New Westminster), as Canadian negotiators returned to South Korea to continue discussions.

“I am deeply concerned about the consequences and risks of such a trade deal on many key industries. Numerous economic analysts have reported that the potential agreement would cost ten of thousands of Canadian jobs and accelerate the ever growing trade deficit, which totaled $ 4 billion in 2005,” exclaimed NDP Justice Critic Joe Comartin (Windsor-Tecumseh).

Many experts agree that across the board trade liberalization with South Korea would adversely impact mainly Canadian-based producers in the automotive, shipbuilding, electronic, and machinery sectors.

“The shipbuilding industry is struggling in Canada. Recently, I held a round table panel on how to rebuild the industry, and exporting more jobs to Korea was not one of the solutions proposed,” noted Peter Stoffer (Sackville-Eastern Shore).

The same objections have been raised in the US Congress to their proposed US-South Korea trade deal.

“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 Industry Critic Brian Masse (Windsor West).