SEOUL, Korea–Following the announcement this week by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper of the signing of the Canada-Korea Free Trade agreement in Seoul, Korea, Canadian industries have been weighing in with both positive and negative reactions to the pact.
Martin Sullivan, President and CEO of Ocean Choice International, said the company is extremely pleased with the announcement of the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement.
“Asia is the world’s fastest growing economic region and seafood imports into this market will provide us with the opportunity to enhance our market presence throughout Korea and all of Asia,” said Sullivan.
He stated that both the recent CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) with Europe and the Korea free trade agreement will have a positive impact on seafood exports to Korea and European countries.
The Malting Industry Association of Canada (MIAC) said it is “delighted” with the free trade deal reached between Canada and South Korea (CKFTA), which eliminates tariffs on 13,000 tonnes of malt upon ratification with tariff free access reaching 25,000 tonnes by year 11 and complete tariff free access in year 12. Korea is Canada’s 3rd largest offshore malt export market with annual sales today of approximately 25,000 tonnes.
“The agreement is particularly good news since Korea is highly regarded as an important malt customer for Canadian malt companies. “This agreement will now provide Canadian maltsters not only competitive export stability in this market, but opens the door for what we believe will be increased sales moving forward” says MIAC president Phil de Kemp.
But the automotive industry in Canada appears less than happy with the agreement. Dianne Craig, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company of Canada, Ltd., commented in a release that as a global company committed to free trade, “Ford supports well-negotiated agreements that open new markets for vehicles produced in Canada. For this reason, we cannot support the Canada-South Korea free trade agreement. We believe that South Korea will remain one of the most closed automotive markets in the world under the deal negotiated by the Canadian government,” Craig stated.
“Over the last two years, both the United States and European Union free trade agreements with South Korea have failed to reverse this one-sided automotive trade flow because the South Korean government continues its long history of maintaining a closed market through non-tariff trade barriers and actively intervening in its currency to unfairly subsidize its exports and protect its home market. In fact, since the U.S. signed its trade agreement with South Korea, the U.S. trade deficit has worsened by more than 50 per cent and the volume of U.S. goods exported to South Korea – not just autos but all exports – has dropped by nearly $2 Billion,” she added.