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Korea, Canada agree to sign free trade agreement Updated: 2014-03-11 16:36:35 KST

 Korea, Canada agree to sign free trade agreement
We begin with Korea's 12th free trade agreement

After nearly a decade of negotiations, Korea and Canada have finally agreed on their free trade agreement.
This comes after President Park Geun-hye and visiting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper met for summit talks earlier today.

And for details, we have live on the line Arirang News' presidential office correspondent Choi You-sun .

Conn-young, Daniel.
The comprehensive trade pact, for which negotiations were suspended after Korea banned Canadian beef imports in 2008, goes beyond goods and services, to include investments, finance and intellectual property.
Canada is Korea's 25th trading partner, with trade between Seoul and Ottawa totaling some 10 billion U.S. dollars last year.
Over the next 10 years, each side will lift tariffs on nearly 98 percent of goods.
For Korean automakers, whose products make up 40 percent of the country's total shipments to Canada, the more-than-six-percent tariff barrier will be removed in 24 months.
This means, Korean companies like Hyundai and Kia, which currently take up 12 percent of the Canadian market share will be able to make further inroads in the North American country.

You-sun, as is the case with Korea's free trade deals with other countries, one of the major concerns here is how the pact will affect the farming sector.

In a likely response to Korean farmers' concerns about the impact of the FTA, nearly 20 percent of agricultural produce or more than 2-hundred products, including rice, will be exempt from the pact.
Tariffs on sensitive goods such as beef and pork will be partially lifted in five to 15 years.
The Korean government plans to safeguard industries that may be hurt by the trade deal by drawing up measures to assist them.
With today's agreement, Korea hopes for better access to the world's energy sources, as Canada is a nation rich in natural resources, such as oil and natural gas.
On the Canadian side, hopes are high that by signing its first trade deal with an Asian country, Canada is on the path to expanding trade in the region.
Canada will be Korea's 12th FTA partner, after it is signed and approved by the parliaments in each nation.
The pact is expected to come into effect next year.
During today's summit talks, the two leaders also discussed security issues.
Prime Minister Harper endorsed President Park's trust-building policies towards North Korea, and preparations for reunification on the Korean peninsula.

Alright You-sun, thank-you for that report.
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