VANCOUVER, B.C. — The Vancouver Board of Trade welcomes today's news that Canada and South Korea have reached a historic free trade agreement — a move that will strengthen ties with a key trading partner for many businesses across Metro Vancouver and B.C.
In today's announcement, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement will eliminate tariffs and reduce non-tariff measures that currently hinder market access for Canadian exporters and investors in Korea. In addition, Canadian consumers will soon see a greater variety of Korean goods in the marketplace, at lower prices.
"This is a significant milestone for our country — and our province — given that it's the first free trade agreement of its kind between Canada and an Asian market," said Elio Luongo, 2013-14 Chair of The Vancouver Board of Trade, and Canadian Managing Partner, Tax, for KPMG.
"This agreement will increase Canadian trade with one of the largest economies in Asia, which is phenomenal news for the business community in British Columbia. As Canada's Pacific Gateway, we are well positioned to capitalize on increased economic activity with Korea and to leverage new trade relationships."
The federal government says the new agreement will remove duties on 98.2 per cent of tariff lines, which will benefit nearly every industry, including B.C.'s LNG sector, mining, forestry, fish and seafood, agriculture and agri-foods, wine and spirits, industrial goods, and more.
"South Korea is already Port Metro Vancouver's third-largest foreign trading partner in terms of total tonnage, with a 14-per-cent market share. In addition, we export $41 million of cargo per year through Vancouver International Airport — or approximately 2,700 tonnes," said Iain Black, President and CEO of The Vancouver Board of Trade.
"Canadian companies are now on a level playing field with their competitors around the world. With this new agreement, we can expect to see even more demand for B.C.'s products and services in Korea — whether its mining and forestry products leaving our ports, or semi-conductors, electrical equipment, and food products leaving our airports," added Black.
"Today's agreement also sets the stage for future negotiations surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which could revolutionize trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific Region."
About The Vancouver Board of Trade:
For 127 years, The Vancouver Board of Trade has worked on behalf of our region's business community to promote prosperity through commerce, trade, and free enterprise. As Western Canada's largest, most active, most engaged business organization, The Vancouver Board of Trade strives to enable and empower its members to succeed, grow and prosper in the global economy.
Greg Hoekstra, Communications Officer