Movement Needed on Canada/South Korea Trade Deal

CANADA - Canada's Minister of International Trade says the Republic of Korea will need to show signs of movement on a number of issues in order to justify of resumption of negotiations aimed at achieving a free trade agreement between the two nations, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 14 July 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

The Republic of Korea has free trade agreements in place with India, Chile, Singapore, the European free trade area and ten south-east Asian countries, agreements have been negotiated with the United States and the European Union and are awaiting ratification and negotiations are underway with eight other nations including Canada.

International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan says there has been considerable progress since negotiations began in 2005 but there are some relatively intractable issues on which we will need to see some movement by Korea.

Peter Van Loan – Canadian International Trade Minister

One is the question of the automotive sector and what we are looking for there to be able to move forward are at a bare minimum the same kind of terms the United States has in their agreement, which by the way has not yet been ratified by congress, however they have the more amenable terms than those that Korea is proposing for us right now.

Obviously based on the integrated nature of our economy on the automotive side that's simply not acceptable so we need to see some movement there and willingness to be treated on the same level playing field.

Another area that's been of concern has been the area of beef and pork and gaining Canadian access there.

We certainly would like to see that dealt with.

The beef file, as you know, remains unresolved.

Canada made a complaint to the WTO.

We're continuing with that World Trade Organization panel.

We don't see any signs so far that the Koreans are willing to open that up for further negotiations.

So these are some of the major issues that are keeping us from reaching a final agreement.

Mr Van Loan concedes there is a concern that, in the absence of an agreement, Canada's competitors will gain preferred access to South Korea but Canada is not prepared to accept an uneven or unfair deal.

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