B.C. businesses joining Premier Christy Clark’s trade mission to Asia are knocking on the door of South Korea’s booming technology sector and forming new trade and investment partnerships under the Canada-South Korea Free Trade agreement (CKFTA).
As a world leader in technology and innovation, especially in the areas of information and communications technology (ICT), digital media and clean tech, South Korea offers significant trade opportunities between B.C. and South Korean companies. These opportunities are supported by the CKFTA, which is reducing trade barriers and opening up new markets for B.C. companies.
“On this mission, B.C. businesses are helping me spread the word that B.C. is open for business,” said Premier Clark. “B.C. has successfully attracted several major multinational companies from South Korea, including Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Canada. With the CKFTA continuing to remove trade barriers, and our focus on B.C.’s new tech strategy, this is the ideal time to strengthen our ties with South Korea and find new opportunities to grow trade and investment.”
B.C.-based Adtrack Media is taking advantage of these opportunities, recently announcing an agreement with the Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corporation (SMRT) for the installation of advertising technology and in-tunnel subway digital advertising in various sections of the Seoul Metro line. The company is currently in advanced discussion with another operator of Seoul’s subway system as part of the company’s global expansion efforts.
Premier Clark also promoted B.C.'s liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector in a meeting with Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS), a key stakeholder in the LNG Canada project with partners Shell, PetroChina, and Mitsubishi. KOGAS President Seung-Hoon Lee and Premier Clark discussed the company's commitment to its investments in B.C., and how the company is confident in the province as a reliable, long-term supplier of LNG for South Korea.
The CKFTA is also benefiting B.C. beer brewers such as Fuggles and Warlock, Whistler Brewing Co. and Mission Springs, which are operating in South Korea and attended a trade mission business networking event to provide samples. For example, South Korea’s 30% duty on Canadian beer and duties as high as 269% on Canadian malt barley will be eventually reduced or eliminated under the CKFTA.
In terms of attracting South Korean investment to British Columbia, the B.C. government hosted a technology investment seminar in Seoul where presentations by five B.C. technology companies were attended by more than 30 leading South Korean technology venture capitalists, equity investors and companies. Premier Clark and B.C.’s tech companies encouraged the South Korean investors to explore investment opportunities in B.C. and invited them to attend the 2017 BC Tech Forum.
South Korea-based Shinhan Bank announced plans to open its first Western Canadian branch in B.C. in the summer of 2016, demonstrating the bank’s confidence in the B.C. economy. Shinhan Bank’s global network includes operations in Canada, the U.S., U.K., Europe, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, India, Cambodia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and Mexico.
South Korean investors are also looking for investment opportunities in B.C. infrastructure projects after the announcement that Peace River Hydro Partners, which includes South Korean company Samsung C&T as a joint venture partner, was awarded a $1.75-billion construction contract for the Site C project.
These new trade and investment opportunities demonstrate how the B.C.-South Korea trade relationship continues to evolve, something that Premier Clark discussed in a bilateral meeting with Gyeonggi Governor Nam Kyung-Pil. Premier Clark and Governor Nam agreed to continue efforts to develop their regions by expanding exchanges and strengthening co-operation.
B.C. and Gyeonggi signed a Sister-Province Agreement in 2008, which was renewed in 2013. The agreement may be renewed as part of a potential visit by Governor Nam to British Columbia in the fall of 2016.
Trade missions are a critical part of British Columbia’s strategy to diversify its international trading partners and secure new investment, propelling economic activity and job creation throughout the province.
A backgrounder on the B.C.-Gyeonggi Sister Province agreement and action plan follows.
- South Korea is British Columbia’s fourth-largest goods export market.
- B.C. is the top exporter to South Korea among all Canadian provinces, representing nearly half of all Canada good exports to South Korea ($1.85 billion in 2015).
- The CKFTA will eventually remove duties on 98.2% of tariffs.
For more information on the Premier’s trade mission to South Korea, the Philippines and Japan, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/stories/trade-mission-to-korea-the-philippines-and-japan
For more information about B.C. trade and investment opportunities visit: http://www.britishcolumbia.ca/
Learn more about the BC Jobs Plan at: www.bcjobsplan.ca