SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced on March 11 that Canada and South Korea have concluded negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement that will significantly boost trade and investment ties between the two countries, creating jobs and opportunities for Canadians in every region of the country.

The Free Trade Agreement, Canada’s first with an Asian market, will create thousands of new jobs in Canada and provide Canadian businesses and workers with a gateway to Asia, enhancing their global competitiveness, Harper said. It will also level the playing field for Canadian companies competing with South Korea’s other trading partners, including the U.S. and the E.U., who already have free trade agreements with Korea. 

“Our government recognizes the importance of opening new markets for Canadian goods, services and investment which is why we launched the most ambitious trade agenda in Canadian history. The Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement will create jobs and open the door to the lucrative Asia-Pacific market for Canadian businesses,” said Harper. “The Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement not only reflects the input of all sectors of the economy, provinces and territories, it will deliver significant benefits for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.” 

Canadian consumers will benefit from a greater variety of goods at lower prices, as the Free Trade Agreement will cover virtually all aspects of Canadian-Korean trade: goods and services, investment, government procurement, environment and labor cooperation, and other areas of economic activity. 

The agreement eliminates tariffs and reduces non-tariff measures that hinder market access for Canadian exporters and investors in South Korea, bringing transparency and predictability to the business environment.  Once the agreement is fully implemented, South Korea will remove duties on 98.2% of its tariff lines, covering virtually all of Canada’s imports.

The Canada-South Korea Free Trade Agreement will benefit a wide range of sectors, including industrial goods (e.g. chemicals and plastics, information and communications technology, aerospace, metals and minerals, etc.), agricultural and agri-food products, wine and spirits, fish and seafood, and wood and forestry products. 

South Korea is already Canada’s seventh-largest merchandise trading partner and its third-largest in Asia (after China and Japan). Total merchandise trade between the two countries reached approximately C$10.1 billion in 2012.