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Honourable Senators,

I rise today to speak about the historic Canada Korea Free Trade Agreement that was concluded and jointly announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Geun-hye Park in Seoul, Korea on March 10, 2014 - the first trade agreement for Canada in the Asia Pacific region.

The FTA will benefit both countries due to the fact that Canada and Korea have very complementary economies.  The FTA enhances economic growth in all sectors of Canada, namely agriculture, food, seafood, aerospace, medical devices, mining, metals and forest products to name a few.

Economic models predict that an FTA would increase the sales of Canadian products to Korea by nearly one-third, generating $2 billion Canadian GDP annually. BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskachewan, Ontario, Quebec, the Territories, and Atlantic Canada will benefit from an FTA with Korea. It will provide Canadians with thousands of new jobs in a wide range of sectors. The FTA will provide significant strategic value for Canada's global trade agenda and a strong platform for Canadian companies to pursue opportunities in the fastest-growing markets of Asia. 

As a Canadian of Korean descent, it was an honour to witness the announcement of the concluded FTA in Seoul, the city of my birth, as Prime Minister Harper and President Park stood side by side to share the long-awaited news.

Prime Minister Harper said, "Our deep friendship in the theatre of war has led to a commitment to peace and prosperity."

Indeed, without the sacrifices of our veterans of the Korean War, the tireless efforts of the pioneering community leaders in Canada (including my parents, Lee Sung and Kye Soon Kim), the leadership and vision of our Prime Minister, Industry Minister James Moore, International Trade Minister Ed Fast, his predecessor Stockwell Day, and others before them...the Canada Korea Free Trade Agreement would not have been possible.

Nearly a decade in the making, now the FTA is a dream come true.

2013 was the Year of Korea and the Year of the Korean War Veteran - marking the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice. The conclusion of the FTA is the first major step for Canada Korea relations in 2014, to begin a new era of opportunities and the next 50 years of friendship and prosperity.

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