With a GDP of over $1 trillion, the Republic of Korea (commonly known as South Korea) is a high-growth and rapidly advancing market of strategic importance for Canada. Canada and South Korea enjoy strong relations based on 50 years of diplomatic engagement, close personal ties and an important trade and investment relationship. South Korea is Canada’s 7th largest merchandise trading partner and our 3rd largest in Asia, after China and Japan. Canada-South Korea two-way merchandise trade is robust, nearly reaching $10.1 billion in 2012.
A bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea could deliver significant commercial benefits across many sectors of the Canadian economy. In addition to generating benefits for Canadian consumers, an FTA with South Korea would better enable Canadian companies to tap into global value chains, take advantage of increased export opportunities, and employ South Korea as a strategic base for expanding their presence in Northeast Asia.
Canada and Korea met for a thirteenth round of negotiations toward a Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA) in Ottawa, March 25-28, 2008. The negotiations were well-advanced, but reached an impasse on a limited number of issues.
The resumption of Canadian beef exports to Korea in early 2012 was an important development in the bilateral relationship and created positive momentum. Building on this momentum, Canada and Korea have been actively engaged in discussions with a view to concluding in the FTA negotiations. Discussions continue between Canadian and Korean officials in order to identify the best way forward. Canada’s objective remains to conclude in the near term a high-quality agreement that promotes Canadian interests.
On November 19, 2004, the Prime Minister of Canada and President of the Republic of Korea announced that the two countries would begin talks to explore the feasibility of negotiating a free trade agreement. On July 15, 2005, the Canadian and South Korean trade ministers formally announced the launch of bilateral free trade negotiations.
Canada and Korea are established trade and investment partners. In 2012, Canadian merchandise exports to Korea were valued at $3.7 billion, while Canada's merchandise imports from Korea were $6.4 billion. Canada's exports of services to Korea amounted to $788 million, while services imports from Korea were valued at $376 million in 2010, the latest year for which this data is available. In 2011, Canadian foreign direct investment (FDI) in Korea was $365 million, while Korean FDI in Canada was over $6 billion.
The government appreciates the input of all Canadians who have contributed to the consultative process to date. Their views will be taken into account as the Canada-Korea initiative proceeds and in the development of Canada's trade agenda more broadly.
On January 31, 2005, Canada launched extensive domestic consultations with business, citizen-based organizations and individual Canadians, as well as with the provincial and territorial governments, to obtain advice and views on priorities, objectives and concerns to help define the possible scope of this initiative (See ARCHIVED - Canada Gazette Notice).
An Initial Environmental Assessment of the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement negotiations was also conducted to help better integrate environmental considerations into the negotiating process. To supplement the environmental assessment process, the Department released a Preliminary Assessment of the Economic Impacts of a Canada-Korea FTA. A Final Environmental Assessment will be conducted once negotiations with Korea are concluded and the details of the free trade agreement are known.
Interested Canadians continue to be invited to make submissions on any area of the Canada- Korea negotiations through the departmental contact points below.
If you have questions or comments about this free trade agreement, we would like to hear from you. Please contact the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade at the following address:
Trade Negotiations III Division (TPW)
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Lester B. Pearson Building
125 promenade Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0G2