South Korean trade agreement could boost Canadian exports

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A new Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement will eliminate a tax of as much as 8 percent that Canadian boat companies face when exporting to South Korea.

The agreement is the first for Canada with the Asian market and it will eliminate South Korean duties on products exported by recreational boating companies.

Tariffs on yachts and other vessels for pleasure or sports, as well as rowing boats and canoes, currently face South Korean tariffs of as much as 8 percent. All duties for these goods would be eliminated within three years of the agreement taking effect.

The United States and the European Union already have free trade agreements with South Korea and the new agreement will level the playing field for Canadian exporters and investors, according to statements made Wednesday by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. South Korea is the world’s 15th-largest economy, with a GDP of $1.1 trillion, and it already is Canada’s seventh-largest merchandise trading partner.

“We are pleased that negotiations for CKFTA have concluded, and members of NMMA Canada look forward to realizing increased export opportunities with access to this significant Asian market as a result of this agreement,” National Marine Manufacturers Association Canada executive director Sara Anghel said in a statement. “Canadian businesses in the recreational boating industry are recognized for producing innovative and high-quality product. We expect our industry to benefit from the elimination of Korean tariffs, in particular.”

Harper was in British Columbia on Wednesday to tout the benefits of the free trade deal, particularly for that province. The agreement is expected to eliminate nearly all tariffs between the two countries, giving Canadian businesses increased access to South Korea and a window into other Asia-Pacific markets, according to CBC News.

"There is no province that is going to benefit from this deal with Korea more than British Columbia," Harper told a B.C. Chamber of Commerce gathering in Vancouver, where he stopped on his way back from South Korea.

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