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Ottawa, March 11 2014 – On the announcement of the free trade agreement with South Korea, Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce issued the following statement:

“Concluding a free trade agreement with South Korea is an important achievement in Canada’s effort to forge stronger business ties with fast-growing economies in Asia. This has been a difficult negotiation for Canada, and I commend the government for its leadership in restarting talks and reaching an agreement with South Korea that will permit greater access to the South Korean market for Canadian goods and services.

This deal with South Korea is Canada’s first in Asia and will add momentum to other negotiations, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and bilateral talks with Japan.

During my visit to South Korea last fall, I saw first-hand how Canadian companies were losing their footing in the market to competitors from other countries. Some were even making the difficult choice to shut down their marketing offices.

South Korea is Asia’s fourth largest economy, with a market of $1.1 trillion. There are growth opportunities across many industries: agri-food, aerospace, infrastructure, energy, chemicals, forestry and financial services—the list goes on. Reducing and eliminating trade and investment barriers here will boost exports and create new jobs. We look forward to the final text so that we can conduct a complete assessment of the benefits," said Mr. Beatty.

In January, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce welcomed progress in the bilateral talks, but outlined the need for strong enforcement measures and flexibilities to ensure the continued competitiveness of Canada’s automotive sector.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing some 200, 000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions. Follow us on Twitter @CdnChamberofCom.