The Canadian-Korea Free Trade Agreement was signed on Tuesday in Ottawa by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Korean President Park Geun-hye.
The deal was welcomed by the agricultural industry who say that the free-trade agreement with South Korea will provide Canadian farmers with equal opportunity to compete against some of their main competitors – including the United States, E.U. and Australia – who all currently have trade agreements with the Asian country.
John Masswohl, a spokesperson for the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, said that Korea is one of Canada’s top-five importers of beef. Trade access will allow Canadian beef farmers to export beef and compete with their American counterparts to sell parts of the animal, like the stomach and intestine – meat cuts don’t really have a market domestically.
In the PMO’s office internal “24 Seven Excusive” episode, Masswohl acknowledges that while the trade deal has taken a long time to come through, Prime Minister Stephen Harper made sure that the agreement provided an ideal opportunity that would be beneficial to the Canadian beef sector.
According to government officials, Korea’s 40 per cent tariff on Canadian beef products will be dropped to zero over time, a package that is also outlined in the U.S. trade deal with South Korea. Similarly, for canola, the five per cent tariff will be eliminated imminently when the agreement officially takes effect, while canola oil and crude oil tariffs will be phased out over three and seven year time periods.
Dan Paszkowski, a representative for the Canadian Vintners Association, is confident that the new partnership with South Korea will boost tourism for wine country. He said that witnessing the signing of the agreement was “very memorable” for his industry.
The trade agreement is worth about $10 billion annually. Later this week, Harper is expected to announce the details of the trade agreement with the European Union. The 24 Seven Exclusive on the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement can be viewed at pm.gc.ca.