Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement Negotiations

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. At the end of 2012, Canadian foreign direct investment (FDI) in Korea was $569 million, while Korean FDI in Canada was over $5.8 billion.

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.

Update on Negotiations

Canada and Korea met for a fourteenth round of negotiations toward a Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA) in Seoul, South Korea, from November 25 to 29, 2013.

The Canada-Korea FTA negotiations were launched in 2005 and were well-advanced following Round 13 in 2008, but reached an impasse on a limited number of issues. The resumption of Canadian beef exports to Korea in early 2012 created positive momentum in our trading relationship. Since then, Canada and Korea have re-engaged in discussions towards the conclusion of a high-quality and comprehensive FTA.

Canada’s objective remains to conclude in the near term a high-quality agreement that promotes Canadian interests.

Background

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.