Korea and Canada Finalize Free Trade Agreement

kpride, Sept. 22, 2014, 9:29 a.m.

Korea and Canada officially sign a free trade agreement on Monday according to terms agreed in March after nine years of tough negotiations. The signing is part of President Park Geun-hye's three-day visit to Canada, which started Sunday.

The FTA, the 12th for Korea, involves scrapping tariffs on 99 percent of all goods traded between the two countries within the next 10 years.  Trade ministers from both sides will sign it after Park and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper finish their summit on Monday. 

Korea signed an FTA with the U.S. back in 2007, which went into effect in 2010.  At a meeting with Korean residents in Ottawa on Saturday, Park said, "The free trade deal will serve as great momentum" to take bilateral relations up a further notch.

Seoul hopes that the five to eight-percent tariff Canada imposes on Korean-made cars, auto parts, home appliances and textiles will be scrapped within three years, bolstering the competitiveness of Korean products there.

Canada is Korea's 25th-largest trading partner and bilateral trade amounted to nearly US$10 billion in 2013.  Meanwhile, Park invited her former French tutor Andre Comtois to a meeting with Korean residents. Comtois was a missionary in Korea for 25 years starting in 1956 and taught Park French when she was in high school.  Around 205,000 Koreans live in Canada.

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