Harper Government Highlights Benefits to Southwestern Ontario of Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement

March 18, 2014 Breslau, Ontario Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

Diane Finley, Member of Parliament for Haldimand-Norfolk and regional minister for southwestern Ontario, and Harold Albrecht, Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga, today visited Conestoga Meat Packers in Breslau, Ontario, to highlight the benefits that the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA) will bring to businesses and workers in southwestern Ontario. On March 11, 2014, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Park Geun-hye of South Korea announced the conclusion of negotiations on this new free trade agreement.

Ontario’s agricultural exports to South Korea were worth an annual average of $68 million from 2010 to 2012. The Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement will eliminate tariffs on 86.8 percent of agricultural tariff lines. This duty-free access will give Canadian agricultural products, including beef, pork, icewine and food preparations, preferential access to the South Korean market and will create a level playing field on which Canadian producers can compete with South Korea’s current free trade agreement partners.

Tariffs on Ontario’s information and communications technology exports will be eliminated, and market access for medical devices and clean technology also stand to benefit under the CKFTA.

Effective immediately, this new agreement will provide meat and animal products, such as beef and pig fats, bovine and swine genetics, and raw furskins, with duty-free access to the South Korean market. Tariffs will gradually be eliminated on further beef and pork products, including fresh, chilled and frozen beef and pork cuts and beef and pork offal.

Beef and pork farmers in southwestern Ontario will benefit from this tariff elimination, which will provide local farmers with opportunities to export more products and increase their ability to compete in the South Korean marketplace.

The CKFTA 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 but also a gateway for Canadian businesses into the Asia-Pacific region.

The Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement will create jobs and economic growth across Canada, including in southwestern Ontario, by eliminating tariffs and boosting exports in many sectors such as industrial goods, metals and minerals, forestry and value-added wood products, fish and seafood, and agriculture and agri-food. It will also benefit Canadian service providers, including those in the financial sector, facilitate labour mobility and help strengthen cross-border investment.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario’s agricultural, agri-food and beverage sector is a significant driver of economic activity in the province. The sector employed over 212,000 people and contributed $15 billion to the province’s GDP in 2012.
  • 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.
  • On the day the Agreement comes into force, Canadian businesses will immediately benefit from South Korea’s removal of duties on 81.9 percent of tariff lines. Once the Agreement is fully implemented, South Korea will have removed duties on 98.2 percent of tariff lines.
  • Tariff elimination under the CKFTA will be particularly advantageous for Canadian businesses, because average South Korean tariffs are three times higher than Canada’s (13.3 percent versus 4.3 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

“Canada has levelled the playing field for small businesses to compete in the South Korean marketplace, including from right here in southwestern Ontario. The Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement will unleash export potential for many local companies—and that means job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity here in our region.”

Diane Finley, Member of Parliament for Haldimand-Norfolk, regional minister for southwestern Ontario, Minister of Public Works and Government Services

“Whether the field is aerospace, like Com Dev in Cambridge, medical imaging, like Agfa in Waterloo, or agri-food products like Conestoga Meats right here in Breslau, our businesses will be able to access a market of 50 million people—the world’s 15th-largest market.”

Harold Albrecht, Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga

“Conestoga Meat Packers is very pleased with the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement. The South Korean market represents a tremendous opportunity for Canadian pork. This agreement will support our business and our farmer-owners by providing another high-value market for our products.”

Arnold Drung, President of Conestoga Meat Packers

“Our government is committed to expanding trade with new and emerging markets in Asia to benefit Canadian workers, businesses and industries across the country. This new agreement will ensure that pork processors like Conestoga Meat Packers can gain access to the large and lucrative South Korean market.”

Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade

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Contacts

Marcel Poulin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of the Public Works and Government Services
819-997-5421

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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