Harper Government Highlights Benefits to British Columbia of Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement

Minister Fast says deeper trade with South Korea, a gateway to the Asia-Pacific Region, will create new jobs and opportunities for Canadians in every region of the country

March 14, 2014 - Kelowna, British Columbia - Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, and Ron Cannan, Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country, today visited the Summerhill Pyramid Winery and met with the members of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce to highlight the many benefits the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement will bring to businesses and workers in British Columbia. Earlier this 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 will make British Columbian exports more competitive in the Korean market by levelling the playing field for workers and businesses competing against exporters from countries that already have preferential access. South Korea is British Columbia’s fourth-largest trading partner and export destination—in fact, 50 percent of all Canadian exports to South Korea are from British Columbia.

The Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement will eliminate all tariffs on 86.8 percent of agricultural tariff lines for British Columbia’s products. This duty-free access will give British Columbian agricultural products, including beef, pork, wine and fruit, preferential access to the South Korean market. Specifically, tariffs of 15 percent on wine (including icewine) and of up to 45 percent on cherries and blueberries will be eliminated under the Agreement.

The Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement is a landmark 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; it also serves as a gateway for Canadian businesses into the Asia-Pacific region.

Quick Facts

  • The province’s agricultural exports to South Korea were worth an annual average of $74 million from 2010 to 2012, led by food preparations, animal and vegetable fats, tallow, wheat flour and pork.
  • B.C.’s exports of fresh and frozen cherries and blueberries were worth $210.8 million in 2012.
  • B.C.’s exports to South Korea from 2010 to 2012 were worth an annual average of $2.18 billion.
  • 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 percent.
  • 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.

Quotes

“Our government is committed to expanding trade with new and emerging markets in Asia to benefit Canadian workers, businesses and industries across the country. And with 50 percent of all Canadian exports to South Korea already coming from British Columbia, this new agreement will ensure that we continue to create jobs and opportunities for our businesses and workers across the province.”

- Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade

“British Columbia is well positioned to benefit from the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement. Whether it’s beef, pork, wine or fruit, we now have a level playing field for our exporters selling their world-class products to the large and lucrative South Korean market.”

- Ron Cannan, Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country

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Contacts

Shannon Gutoskie
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade
613-992-7332

Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
613-995-1874
media@international.gc.ca
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