RICHMOND - The Honourable Ed Fast, Canada's Minister of International Trade, and Teresa Wat, British Columbia's Minister of International Trade and the Minister Responsible for the Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism, today held an event at Viceroy Homes in Richmond to highlight the many benefits the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement will bring to businesses and workers in British Columbia.
Last week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Park Geun-hye of South Korea announced the conclusion of negotiations on this new free-trade agreement. The Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement is a landmark economic achievement: it is Canada's first free-trade agreement in Asia, one of the fastest growing and most dynamic regions in the world. South Korea is not only a major economic player and a key market for Canada and British Columbia; it also serves as a gateway for Canadian businesses into the Asia-Pacific region.
The Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement will make Canadian exports more competitive in the South Korean market by levelling the playing field and provide advantages for B.C. businesses competing against exporters from other countries.
British Columbia stands to benefit significantly from preferred access to the South Korean market. Upon entry into force, the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement will eliminate tariffs on almost all of British Columbia's key exports; advanced manufacturing, forestry and value-added wood products, fish and seafood, natural resources, agricultural and agri-food products, including wine, cherries and blueberries while providing improved access for professional services.
South Korea is British Columbia's fourth-largest trading partner and export destination - in fact, 50 per cent of all Canadian exports to South Korea are from British Columbia.
Teresa Wat, British Columbia's Minister of International Trade and the Minister Responsible for the Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism -
"Our government has long recognized the importance of the South Korean market, and providing our businesses with preferential access to sell their goods and services will spur economic growth and job creation. We commend the Government of Canada for concluding an agreement with South Korea. British Columbia's competitive advantages, combined with the level playing field created through this trade agreement, will position our exporters to do very well in South Korea."
Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade -
"Our government is committed to expanding trade with new and emerging markets in Asia to benefit Canadian workers, businesses and industries across the country. The Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement demonstrates our commitment to giving Canadian investors and exporters the tools they need to compete - and win - in the global marketplace to create jobs and opportunities for hardworking Canadians across our country."
- South Korea is an important economic partner for Canada, with an economy of $1.1 trillion and a population of 50 million.
- The Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement is projected to boost Canada's economy by $1.7 billion and increase Canadian exports to South Korea by 32 per cent.
- Canadian businesses will benefit from the same access to the South Korean market as their competitors, notably those from the United States and the European Union.
- British Columbia accounts for the largest share of Canada's exports of forestry and value-added wood products to South Korea, with exports averaging $327.9 million annually between 2010 and 2012. South Korean wood tariff lines have significant duties, as high as 10 per cent, which present a competitive disadvantage for Canadian exporters
How the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement Benefits British Columbia (international.gc.ca)
Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement (international.gc.ca)
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Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade
Ministry of International Trade and
Responsible for the Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism
Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada