Thursday, March 13, 2014

Port Metro Vancouver Applauds
Free Trade Agreement

By Mark Edward Nero

The head of Canada’s largest and busiest port said March 11 that a newly announced free trade agreement between Canada and South Korea should be a boon for imports and exports.

The agreement, which is the first such pact between Canada and an Asian country, was announced by the two countries’ federal governments March 11, and is expected to go into effect within a year.

Once in place, the agreement is designed eliminate virtually all tariffs between the countries, with South Korea cutting 81.9 percent of duties upon the first day of the deal coming into effect, and Canada removing 76.4 percent of levies.

Upon the agreement’s full implementation, Canada is expected to eliminate 97.8 percent of its tariff lines for goods imported from South Korea, while South Korea would eliminate 98.2 percent of its tariff lines for goods imported from Canada.

In a statement on the matter, the head of Port Metro Vancouver said he believes the agreement is a significant development for the port in its role as a key link in the Asia-Pacific Gateway.

“This is an important step forward in the growing trade relationship between our two countries,” Port Metro Vancouver President and CEO Robin Silvester said. “South Korea is our port’s third-largest trading partner in Asia, with trade through Vancouver of more than 200,000 containers per year.”

South Korea has been a key market for Canada exports, with the top five commodities being thermal and metallurgical coal, wood pulp, lumber, ores and concentrates. Canada also imports through Vancouver goods and commodities that Canadians rely upon, including construction materials, metals, household goods, vehicles and parts.

There’s currently $10 billion in annual two-way trade between Canada and South Korea, according to port data. The trade agreement also ties into Port Metro Vancouver’s future growth plans, including a proposed Terminal 2 expansion. The project, once complete, is expected to provide an additional 2.4 million 20-foot equivalent unit containers of capacity at the port.