Alberta stands to gain from Canadian-Korean trade deal

Again, many constituents are talking about the prospects of a new international trade agreement for Canada

Again, many constituents are talking about the prospects of a new international trade agreement for Canada — this time with Korea. Alberta stands to benefit significantly from preferred access to the South Korean market. South Korea is already Alberta’s fifth-largest export destination, with exports from 2010 to 2012 worth an annual average of approximately $628.2 million.

The Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement will provide Canadian businesses and workers with unprecedented access to Korea, which has an annual GDP of $1.1 trillion and a population of 50 million people.

This is Canada’s first free trade agreement with an Asian market and it is forecast to create thousands of new jobs in Canada and provide Canadian businesses and workers with a gateway to Asia, enhancing our global competitiveness. It will also level the playing field for Canadian companies competing with Korea’s other trading partners, including the United States and the European Union, who already have free trade agreements with Korea.

Our riding is strongly based in agriculture and we are one of the chief benefactors of free trade agreements, including the one with Europe that our Conservative government reached last November. The Canada-Korea FTA not only serves us in the short-term but like the European agreement, it will also help us attract and cultivate the next generation of farmers. Expanding Canada’s trade in the modern global economy is about the biggest incentive we can offer future farmers and ranchers in our region since the years of the wheat boom.

Upon coming into force, the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement will eliminate tariffs on almost all of Alberta’s key exports and provide access to new opportunities in the South Korean market. Exporters in these sectors will also benefit from other Agreement provisions that will improve conditions for exports—provisions, for example, that ease regulatory barriers, reinforce intellectual property rights and ensure more transparent rules for market access. Overall, Alberta has a lot to gain from the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement.

Specifically, the top benefits for Alberta include: enhanced market access for many agricultural and agri-food products, including wheat, beef, pork and canola oil; duty-free access for industrial goods, including metals, aircraft parts and chemicals; improved access for professional services; predictable, non-discriminatory rules for Canadian investors; improved access to South Korea’s government procurement market; and, strong provisions on non-tariff measures, backed up by fast and effective dispute settlement provisions.

For example, South Korean tariffs will be eliminated on: wheat, from a current rate of up to three per cent; wheat flour, from a current rate of 4.2 per cent; and certain bakery products, from a current rate of eight per cent; refined and crude canola oil, from a current rate of five per cent; un-roasted barley malt, from a current rate of up to 269 percent; beef and most processed beef products, from a current rate of up to 72 per cent; and, beef fats/tallow, from a current rate of eight per cent.

— From the Hill