The Canadian auto industry fears the government's determination to quickly negotiate a free-trade deal with South Korea, says Steven Landry, CEO of DaimlerChrysler Canada and head of a broadly based lobby.
The Canadian Automotive Partnership Council wants Ottawa to ensure any deal will give Canadian vehicles the same access to South Korea that cars produced there have to Canada. In 2004, about 130,000 Korean cars were sold in Canada, while 340 Canadian cars were exported to Korea.
"It's clearly a closed market," because of non-tariff barriers, Landry said. Moreover, the council thinks federal bureaucrats are negotiating at "breakneck speed" and are ignoring industry concerns.
A government spokesman said a free-trade deal would have little impact on the automotive sector and Canada will have more influence with a deal than without one.
The council includes the Big Three, two Japanese assemblers, the four largest parts suppliers, labor, industry associations, provincial governments and academics.