PM delivers remarks during a joint press conference with Park Geun-hye, President of the Republic of Korea
22 September 2014
Madam President, I know all Canadians join me in welcoming you here on what is without a doubt a historic occasion for both our countries, the signing of the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement.
This landmark Agreement will bring immeasurable benefits for both our countries.
It will create more good jobs for hard-working Canadians and Koreans and lucrative opportunities for job creating businesses, large and small.
It will lead to greater investment in both our countries and growth for both of our economies.
And it will mean more choice and better prices for consumers.
Korea is already Canada’s seventh-largest merchandise trading partner.
The movement of goods between our countries has passed more than $10 billion annually, a number that will only grow as a result of the Agreement whose signing we have just witnessed.
Madam President, as you know, in a globally competitive economy free trade paves the pathway to prosperity.
With this Agreement between us and the trade agreement our country has recently negotiated with the European Union, Canada has now concluded free-trade agreements with nearly one quarter of the countries in the world.
With 43 countries, in fact, which account for over half of the global population.
And I know Korea will find this agreement equally advantageous.
Madam President, given the proud and shared history and the strong and growing people-to-people ties between our countries, it seems most appropriate that Canada’s first free trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific region should be with the Republic of Korea.
There are nearly, according to my figures, there are different figures but there are some 200,000 people of Korean origin living in Canada, and thousands of Canadians living and working in Korea.
This friendship between our two peoples is deeply rooted.
It dates back to the turn of the last century.
We have long been allies in the ongoing quest for freedom and peace.
When the shadow of war fell over the KoreanPeninsula our soldiers, more than 26,000 of them, were there to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their Korean brothers and sisters against the spread of tyranny.
More than 500 of them never to return.
You did us great honour, the great honour this morning of laying a wreath in their memory at our National War Memorial.
And let me just say once again that Canada will continue to stand beside you, supporting your efforts for peace, security and unity on the KoreanPeninsula.
We all look forward to the day when all Koreans can come together and enjoy the blessings of freedom.
In the meantime our two governments will continue to be bound by common interests and shared values in our international activities, as we have been during more than half a century of dynamic diplomatic relations.
Madam President, while the 20th century was characterized by friendship and solidarity between our two peoples, the 21st century will be characterized by partnership and prosperity.
The Canada Korea Free Trade Agreement is at the heart of the new Strategic Partnership to which we have committed when we signed our Joint Declaration a few moments ago.
This Strategic Partnership and all the other agreements we signed today will deepen the bonds we share.
And that partnership will guide our two countries as we strengthen our collaboration in areas of common interests and benefits, including science, technology and innovation, and global security issues.
Again, this is a historic day, truly historic day for both our countries.
I mentioned by the President last night, not just the agreements we’re signing but the first time ever that Korean and Canadian heads of government have visited each other in their respective countries in the same year.
But, Madam President, it would not have been possible, all of this, particularly this trade agreement, without your personal efforts and dedication.
For that, you have all my gratitude and that of all Canadians.
Once again, thank you for being here.