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Honourable Senators,

I have the distinct pleasure to rise today to speak on the Canada Korea Free Trade Agreement that was ratified at the end of last year.

Thanks to the efforts and support of all Honourable Senators at that time, the Agreement came into force on January 1st, 2015, and instantly leveled the playing field for Canadian exporters and businesses, and launched the Canada Korea relationship to the next level.

In fact, we can trumpet 2015 as the "Year of the Canada Korea Free Trade Agreement"!

On January 22nd in Vancouver, I had the opportunity to share in this excitement with Ministers, Senators and Members of Parliament of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan along with Korean community and business leaders and Korean War veterans, at a networking breakfast to celebrate the CKFTA and the opportunities that are and will be generated. Honourable Senators, on Feb. 7, 2015, I will be travelling to South Korea on a multi-sector Trade Mission with Minister Ed Fast, and my colleagues in the House and a large Canadian delegation.

The delegation includes Canadian Business owners across the nation with companies in aerospace, agriculture and agri-food products, automotive, consumer products, defence and security, fish and seafood, forest and wood construction products, information and communications technologies, shipbuilding and ocean technologies and sustainable technologies sectors.

A very impressive and comprehensive agenda has been painstakingly planned. The overwhelming interest in the upcoming trade mission was expected, and in anticipation of the creation of thousands of new jobs in Canada in a wide range of sectors benefiting every province and territory.

There will not only be strengthened trade and investment, but greater people-to-people ties.

Informal relations between Canada and Korea date back over a century ago, with official diplomatic relations that began since 1963. Now, Canada and Korea can look forward to establishing the next 50 years of friendship and bilateral trade.

More importantly, 2015 is also the 65th Anniversary of the Korean War years, from June 25th, 2015, to July 27, 2018, the year in which Korea will be host of the PyeongChang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games!

I take this opportunity to sincerely give thanks to our Veterans of the Korean War for their service and sacrifices that provided a firm foundation upon which the CKFTA and the countless opportunities are rooted.

 Please join me in ringing in this special Year of the Canada Korea Free Trade Agreement!

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