Free Trade with Japan Will Only Worsen Trade Deficit, CAW President says

March 27, 2012, 9:00 AM EST

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CAW President Ken Lewenza is raising serious objections to the new free trade discussions with Japan, charging that a free trade deal with Japan is unnecessary and would hurt the Canadian economy.

"Canada already has a $5 billion bilateral automotive trade deficit with Japan in 2011 alone," said Lewenza. "This occurred even though Japan doesn't have a tariff on auto imports.  There will be no benefit to our auto industry or other important sectors of the economy like manufacturing and processed goods. Instead there will be a huge cost to key sectors when we eliminate the small tariff on goods coming into Canada."

Most of Japan's imports from Canada consist of raw or barely-processed resource products, while it sells back to Canada a portfolio of sophisticated value-added products, said Lewenza. "Canada also experiences a chronic deficit in its bilateral trade with Japan and a free trade agreement with Japan would only exacerbate both these problems."

 "The federal government seems determined to sign as many trade deals as possible, regardless of the impact on the Canadian economy and Canadian jobs," said Lewenza. He listed new agreements with Colombia and Honduras and trade deal discussions with Thailand, Europe, India and Korea, as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership as further proof.

"The Harper government is attempting to reinforce the stranglehold globalization has on our economy. This government has repeatedly failed to put Canadian jobs at the top of its priorities and must now do that in its discussions with Japan," said Lewenza.

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