Canadian Manufacturing

Ford comes out swinging against Canada-South Korea trade pact

Automaker said trade agreement won't reverse "one-sided automotive trade flow" with South Korea

OAKVILLE, Ont.—Ford Motor Co. of Canada says it “cannot support” Canada’s recently announced free trade agreement with South Korea and fears the deal won’t reverse “one-sided automotive trade flow.”

In a statement released by Ford, the automaker says it is committed to free trade and “supports well-negotiated agreements that open new markets for vehicles produced in Canada,” but feels the Canada-South Korea deal fails to open the Asian nation’s market long dominated by home-grown firms Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp.

“We believe that South Korea will remain one of the most closed automotive markets in the world under the deal negotiated by the Canadian government,” Ford’s statement reads.

Ford points to the apparent lack of success of both the United States and European Union (EU) in the months and years since signing similar deals with South Korea.

Those deals failed to address the so-called one-sided automotive trade flow “because the South Korean government continues its long history of maintaining a closed market through non-tariff trade barriers and actively intervening in its currency to unfairly subsidize its exports and protect its home market,” the Ford statement claims.

In fact, Ford claims, since the U.S. signed its trade agreement with South Korea, the country’s trade deficit has increased by more than 50 per cent, and the volume of U.S. goods exported to South Korea has dropped by nearly $2-billion.

The automaker points out the drop in goods goes beyond the automotive sector.

“Ford has proven that it can compete and win in the global marketplace when there is a level playing field,” the statement continues. “But no Canadian manufacturer can compete with a market controlled by non-tariff barriers and currency manipulation.

“The trade agreement negotiated by the Canadian government with South Korea fails to address these issues.”

Ford joins a growing list of those who publicly oppose the deal, including the United Steelworkers (USW) and Unifor unions, as well as members of the Ontario government.

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