In Korea, he led a delegation of more than 30 agriculture associations and companies to seize on the opportunities for agriculture trade, following the announcement, on March 11, that Canada and Korea had concluded negotiations for the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA). "Our government is pleased to help Canada's hard-working agricultural exporters make important trade ties in two key Asian markets, Korea and Japan," said Ritz. "With the recent conclusion of negotiations towards a Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement, our visit successfully set the stage for our exporters looking to increase their competitiveness in this lucrative market."
The minister and delegation met with key Korean import interests to boost agriculture trade ties following the conclusion of the CKFTA negotiations. While in Korea, Canada's products were also showcased during a cooking demonstration and Exporter Café, for a large number of Korean importers. Ritz and industry representatives also secured commitments to increase sales of wheat, pork and processed foods from a number of importers.
Ritz held numerous meetings with key agricultural trade interests in Japan and held a bilateral discussion with Japanese Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister, Yoshimasa Hayashi. He used this meeting to underscore the importance of making progress in negotiations for both the Canada-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Ritz also promoted increased Japanese imports of Canadian beef and pork, and investment into Canada's agri-food sector. He assured his agricultural counterpart and importers of Canada's efforts in addressing challenges related to transportation infrastructure and timely grain export shipments. Importers from both Japan and Korea expressed appreciation for the concrete measures the government is taking to ensure Canada's reputation as a reliable shipper.