March 11th, 2014

Secrecy on South Korean trade deal hurts Canadian industry

After a decade of secret negotiations, the Conservative government has announced a trade deal with South Korea while refusing to release its details.

“New Democrats welcome growing trade opportunities with South Korea and the Asia-Pacific and want a deal that guarantees real market access for Canadian exporters” said Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway), NDP International Trade critic. “The Conservative government is cherry-picking details of this deal for release and ignoring the concerns of Canadian industry. That’s not an acceptable way to conduct trade policy.”

While the US and EU are setting new standards for transparency by releasing trade negotiation documents to lawmakers and the public, the Conservative government has been caught asleep at the switch, failing to negotiate terms as attractive as those achieved by others.

“The Canadian auto industry and manufacturing sector have been kept in the dark throughout the negotiations,” said Guy Caron (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques), deputy NDP critic for International Trade. “We are particularly concerned about the auto sector and its 115,000 quality middle-class Canadian jobs.”

The NDP wants a balanced, job-promoting trade deal with South Korea, and urges the Conservative government to release the full text of the deal.