The premier of the Canadian province of Ontario has threatened surcharges or other barriers to South Korean car imports.

Dalton McGuinty says tariffs or other measures are justified if a proposed Canada-South Korea trade agreement does not widen access to the South Korean market for Canadian-made cars and trucks.

South Korea exported about 114,000 vehicles to Canada in 2006 said McGuinty, while only some 100 Canadian-made cars entered that country.

"What's good for the goose is good for the gander," he said in a radio broadcast, adding, "If you want to send your cars over here, we need the right to send our cars over there."

Canada's federal government acknowledged access to Korea should be increased, but criticised the comments as counter-productive with such measures easily dismissed by the World Trade Organisation.

Canada's provincial governments have no jurisdiction over international trade, but if South Korea places surcharges and restricts foreign cars by a variety of measures, Ontario can respond with non-tariff barriers within its purview without forcing WTO action.

McGuinty similarly addressed cheap Chinese imports and reiterated his government's position to Tata Motors that the Nano should be manufactured here if it would be sold in Canada.

Joel Ceausu