Canada-Korea FTA good for ag. sector: Ritz

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October 2, 2014 10:30 AM

The federal Minister of Agriculture Gerry Ritz is praising the recent agreement between the Government of Canada and South Korea.

Last month, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Park Geun-hye, president of South Korea, signed the free-trade agreement (FTA) for Canada in the Asia-Pacific region.

In a joint declaration, Harper and Geun-hye said, “The (FTA) between Canada and Korea, an historic initiative that will strengthen our trade and investment ties across the Pacific, increase the prosperity of both countries and result in job creation and enhanced opportunities for Korean and Canadian businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises, as well as investors, workers, and consumers.”

Ritz called the agreement a positive step forward in the agriculture sector here in the riding of Battlefords-Lloydminster and across the country.

“This is a tremendous opportunity, and what this does is eliminate the tariffs on approximately 80 per cent across agricultural lines in Canada,” said Ritz.

Ritz said that canola and wheat are the major winners in the agreement.

“This is really good news, and (we) will see new sales come out of this agreement, which could end with an estimated $1 billion in agricultural sales next year,” he said.

What makes the signing of the deal between Korea and Canada so significant is the fact that it is the first in the Asia-Pacific region for Canada, according to Ritz.

“Now, it puts pressure on Japan to work with (Canada) on another round of bi-lateral meetings,” Ritz said, adding that he believes that will take place sometime in the not-too-distant future.

“It’s very important to work with the momentum that we have received with free-trade agreements,” Ritz said, adding that during his recent trip to India last month. “I made it clear that now with the elections in India over now, how important it is to get back to the table and finish off the Canada- India free-trade agreement.”

Government reports state that the Canada-Korea FTA will create over an estimated 1,000 jobs, and will boost the Canadian economy by $1.7 billion.

The FTA will also increase Canadian exports to South Korea by 32 per cent.

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