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Canada-Korea trade pact welcomed

Mar 12, 2014 | 05:04 PM | Michael Cowden

Tags  Stephen Harper, free-trade agreement, Aluminium Association of Canada, Jean Simard, Mining Association of Canada, Pierre Gratton, Teck Resources, Donald Lindsay metals

CHICAGO — Canada’s newly negotiated free-trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea should benefit Canadian miners and aluminum producers by reducing tariffs and opening up markets in Asia, two trade associations said.

The pact should boost Canadian aluminum exports to Korea to the tune of Canadian $180 million ($161.9 million) annually and boost Canadian aluminum companies’ presence in Asia, Aluminium Association of Canada president and chief executive officer Jean Simard said in a statement March 12.

"The free-trade agreement with South Korea is an additional step toward increasing open markets for the Canadian aluminum industry following the recent agreement with the European Union," Simard said. "Right from the outset, this agreement will reduce existing tariffs by 98 percent."

The deal also should help Canadian miners, who exported C$1.8 billion in minerals to Korea in 2012, the Mining Association of Canada said in a statement. Coal accounted for C$1.1 billion of those exports, followed by aluminum, copper, nickel and zinc, the association said. A key benefit will be lower Korean tariffs, which are approximately 8 percent for metals, including iron, aluminum and nickel.

"Access to strategic markets and the free flow of goods is critical for the Canadian mining industry’s ability to compete on the world stage. We encourage the federal government to continue with its active trade agenda," Mining Association of Canada president and chief executive officer Pierre Gratton said in a statement March 11.

Donald R. Lindsay, president and chief executive officer of Vancouver, British Columbia-based Teck Resources Ltd., also applauded the development. The pact "represents a significant milestone in Canada’s continued efforts to enhance market access for our products across Asia Pacific," he said in a statement March 11.

An announcement of the bilateral trade agreement by the office of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the two countries recorded C$10.1 billion in trade in 2012, but average Korean tariffs are three times higher than those in Canada.

The free-trade agreement is Canada’s first in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the country’s foreign affairs department.

Canada last year announced a free-trade agreement with the European Union, a deal that also was applauded by both the Aluminium Association of Canada and the Mining Association of Canada (, Oct. 22).

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