Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act

An Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the Republic of Korea

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2015.

Sponsor

Ed Fast  Conservative

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment implements the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the Republic of Korea that was done at Ottawa on September 22, 2014.

The general provisions of the enactment set out rules of interpretation and specify that no recourse may be taken on the basis of sections 9 to 15 or any order made under those sections, or on the basis of the provisions of the Free Trade Agreement, without the consent of the Attorney General of Canada.

Part 1 approves the Free Trade Agreement and provides for the payment by Canada of its share of the expenditures associated with the operation of the institutional aspects of the Agreement and the power of the Governor in Council to make orders for carrying out the provisions of the enactment. Part 1 also provides protection for certain geographical indications.

Part 2 amends existing laws in order to bring them into conformity with Canada’s obligations under the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the Republic of Korea.

Part 3 contains coordinating amendments and the coming into force provision.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

Oct. 29, 2014 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
Oct. 1, 2014 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on International Trade.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

October 28th, 2014 / 10:10 a.m.
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NDP

Laurin Liu NDP Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have this opportunity to continue speaking to Bill C-41, the Canada-South Korea free trade agreement.

It is my great pleasure and honour to support this bill and this free trade agreement, the crux of which is tariff lines between Canada and South Korea. The NDP believes that this free trade agreement will benefit Canadian industries and that it can produce plenty of positive economic spinoffs for Canadian industries, such as aerospace.

First, I want to point out that Korea is one of Canada's biggest trading partners. It is Canada's seventh-largest trading partner, the third-largest in Asia after China and Japan. In 2003, Canadian exports to South Korea totalled $33.4 billion while Korean exports to Canada totalled $7.3 billion.

The NDP supports a balanced and sensible approach to free trade agreements. We believe it is critical to review each individual agreement to determine its benefits. The NDP believes that Canada must negotiate free trade agreements with trading partners that respect democracy and human rights and have adequate environmental and labour rights standards. That is the case in South Korea.

In addition, the trading partner's economy must be of significant or strategic value to Canada. As I explained in my speech, this free trade agreement with Korea passes that test. We also have to ensure that the terms of the proposed agreement are satisfactory. I know that a number of stakeholders, including most Canadian industrial sectors, have said this is an excellent agreement. That cannot be said of all of the free trade agreements negotiated by the Conservative government over the past few months and years.

The NDP understands the importance of implementing this free trade agreement as of January 1. In fact, Korea already has free trade agreements with the European Union and the United States. Since those countries implemented their free trade agreements with Korea, Canadian exporters have been losing significant market share. What is more, each year, Korean tariffs come down for EU and U.S. exporters as a result of those agreements. This is estimated to cost Canadian producers hundreds of millions of dollars annually. We therefore understand how urgent it is to implement this free trade agreement as soon as possible. The losses have been particularly heavy in the agri-foods, seafood and aerospace sectors. I would like to emphasize the aerospace sector in particular since it is essential to the economic well-being of the riding of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles.

It is also important to note that there are high rates of unionization in these sectors. We therefore strongly believe that this free trade agreement with Korea will encourage the creation of stable, unionized jobs, which will help Canadians make ends meet.

Canada’s largest private-sector union, the United Food and Commercial Workers, has publicly supported the Korean free trade agreement. This union represents tens of thousands of workers in the food processing, seafood, milling, agricultural and distilling sectors.

I am very proud to be a member of the Standing Committee on International Trade, where I have been able to work with our critic for international trade. We worked extremely hard to improve Bill C-41. Although we support the bill and although it will be beneficial to Canada, we believe that it is not perfect and that it can be improved.

The NDP proposed three amendments to the Standing Committee on International Trade, which were defeated not only by the Conservatives, who hold a majority on the committee, but also by the Liberal member who sits on that committee.

One of the amendments that the NDP critic proposed to improve the bill sought to eliminate the investor state dispute settlement mechanism. The NDP believes that this is a rather controversial aspect of the bill because we are talking about a free trade agreement between two democratic countries with solid and stable legal systems.

The Conservative government has a history of negotiating free trade agreements that contain these investor state dispute settlement mechanisms. These free trade agreements are even a cornerstone of this government. However, we do not believe that such a measure is necessary in a free trade agreement with South Korea.

As we have seen in the news in recent weeks, many countries did not agree with this investor state dispute settlement mechanism. Germany, for one, has spoken out against these mechanisms in free trade agreements.

The main opposition party in South Korea also opposes this mechanism, and an NDP government would negotiate with South Korea in order to get rid of it. This mechanism definitely does not have unanimous support in the international community.

The good thing about this free trade agreement is that it is not binding on the governments for 31 years, like the Canada-China investment agreement, or FIPA. Unlike that investment protection agreement, the free trade agreement with South Korea has guaranteed transparency rules for investor state dispute settlement tribunals, and the hearings must be held in public. That is at least one good thing about this bill.

I would like to digress for a moment and talk about intellectual property. I would like to quote an expert in this area who is often quoted in this House, Michael Geist. He also often appears as a witness before parliamentary committees.

I encourage any Canadians who might be interested, including my constituents in Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, to look for and read what he has written on the Canada-South Korea free trade agreement.

Unfortunately, I do not have time to read the text in full, but this illustrates at least that the section on intellectual property has some positive aspects that we can support.

I will quote from what Michael Geist wrote.

He said:

The IP chapter is significant for what it does not include. Unlike many other trade deals--particularly those involving the U.S., European Union, and Australia--the Canada-South Korea deal is content to leave domestic intellectual property rules largely untouched. The approach is to reaffirm the importance of intellectual property and ensure that both countries meet their international obligations, but not to use trade agreements as a backdoor mechanism to increase IP protections.

Later in his article he says:

...the Canada--South Korea agreement may provide a model for many other countries that wish to include intellectual property provisions in their trade agreements but are content to require each party to meet international standards rather than the domestic rules of one of the parties. The U.S. and E.U. approach has been to export their rules to other countries, but Canada and South Korea have demonstrated that respect for domestic choices and compliance [to] international obligations is a better alternative.

The free trade agreement between Canada and Korea is interesting in its approach to intellectual property.

Since I have just a minute left, I would like to reiterate that the NDP has a balanced approach to free trade agreements. We will look at the text of the free trade agreement with the European Union and consult Canadians before deciding whether or not we will support it. Nonetheless, the free trade agreement between Canada and Korea is a positive, model agreement. I am proud to support it.

Our approach is not like that of the Conservative government at all. The government wants to negotiate free trade agreements with every country, regardless of their record on respecting human rights and without any concern for the benefits to Canada. We must choose our trade partners carefully, and that is what an NDP government will do.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

October 28th, 2014 / 10:20 a.m.
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Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her comments, and thank her and her party for their intended support of this bill, because it is very important.

There was one point in her comments where there may have been a translation issue. I am not sure. However, she referred to the Canada-China free trade agreement. I would just like to inform the House and Canadians that we do not have a free trade agreement with China. We have a foreign investment protection agreement, which is very crucial for potential investors in a foreign economy.

For that reason, I wonder if my colleague could explain why she would not have stood up for those foreign investors who intend to invest in South Korea, by having her committee try to remove that section from this bill. It is a very crucial section for those who intend to invest in South Korea.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

October 28th, 2014 / 10:20 a.m.
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NDP

Laurin Liu NDP Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure I fully understood the question. I think he was talking about the fact that I mentioned the Canada-China foreign investment promotion and protection agreement. The NDP is opposed to this agreement between Canada and China.

He is right. That is not a free trade agreement, but rather an agreement that protects Chinese investments in Canada and allows Chinese companies to take over and control Canada's natural resources. That is why the NDP is against this investment protection agreement with China.

He also raised the matter of the investor state dispute settlement mechanism. This should be debated. International stakeholders demonstrated that this mechanism was not necessary between two countries that have sound justice systems like Canada and Korea.

As far as free trade agreements between these two countries are concerned, we can rely on our solid and transparent justice systems. This mechanism is therefore not necessary in this free trade agreement. In future, the NDP will exclude this mechanism when it negotiates free trade agreements.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

October 28th, 2014 / 10:25 a.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is important that we catch this particular point: in 2003 South Korea made the determination that it wanted to enter into free trade agreements throughout the world.

Canada has been somewhat slack in not giving this file the attention it deserved. In fact, it was former prime minister Paul Martin who really initiated the discussions with South Korea back in 2004, just a year after South Korea had expressed its interest. It has taken the current Conservative government almost a decade to take that interest South Korea had and put it into a free trade agreement.

Now, do not get me wrong. The Liberal Party has consistently, from Korea's initial interest back in 2003, wanted to see a free trade agreement. We have supported the bill in second reading.

To that extent, I think it is noteworthy to recognize that the NDP has taken a different road, a road to support free trade agreements. This is something that is very new here in Ottawa. It is a new policy shift for the New Democrats.

I wonder if my NDP colleague could provide some comment as to why there has been that shift in NDP policy in favour of free trade agreements. Can we now anticipate, for example, that NDP members will support the economic trade agreement with the European Union?

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

October 28th, 2014 / 10:25 a.m.
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NDP

Laurin Liu NDP Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to disagree with the Liberal Party's approach to free trade because a few months ago that party supported a free trade agreement with Honduras.

It is shameful that the Liberal Party is prepared to negotiate a free trade agreement with an undemocratic country where journalists are murdered and workers are not safe. That economy is of very little strategic importance to Canada.

However, the Liberals followed the Conservatives and supported that free trade agreement, which, in fact, will not improve the human rights situation in that country. Quite frankly, I do not believe that that position is in any way good for the Canadian economy or for our international reputation.

If the NDP is voted in as the government next year, we will strengthen trade ties with countries in the Asia-Pacific region. We recognize that this will be vital to Canada's prosperity in the 21st century.

I hope that the NDP will form the government and that the Liberal Party will support us.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

October 28th, 2014 / 10:25 a.m.
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NDP

Jasbir Sandhu NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, we do not need to take any lessons from the Liberal Party. Its Liberal leader actually got up in this House and applauded the deal with the European Union when he had not even seen the text of it or did not know what the deal was. This is the position the Liberal Party takes, that it does not even see the details of the deal before supporting it. We are much better than that. We are a principled party that looks at the details and whether they would benefit all Canadians, all sectors of our economy, and create local jobs.

The Conservative record on trade has been very poor. When the Conservatives came to power back in 2006, we had a trade surplus of, I believe, about $16 billion. However, we now have a trade deficit of over $60 billion, which has accumulated over that period of time.

Could the member talk about how we can improve on creating local jobs and help expand, not only sending oil and raw materials to other countries but creating local manufacturing jobs, with these trade agreements?

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

October 28th, 2014 / 10:30 a.m.
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NDP

Laurin Liu NDP Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague is quite right about the numbers. Unfortunately, the Conservatives have a terrible track record when it comes to international trade.

He also mentioned the Liberal Party's position on the free trade agreement with the European Union. I would like to quote the Liberal trade critic concerning that agreement:

We have been supportive of the deal from the start. It’s important to say this is a great step, but also we really need to start seeing some details. At some point though we need to see what it is we’re actually supporting.

The Liberals were prepared to support an agreement without having all the details, without doing their homework and without doing what had to be done to ensure that it really was a good agreement.

The NDP is ready to do the work and to study the agreements. We even travelled across the country to consult Canadians about this free trade agreement. It is critical that we do this work.

I would like to get back to the question my colleague asked about how we can support the manufacturing sector and increase exports. According to the witnesses who appeared before the Standing Committee on International Trade, free trade agreements are an excellent step, and we must negotiate them. However, we need to do more and we need to encourage small and medium-sized businesses to export, because it is often more difficult for them to export products to other countries or economies.

We need to ensure that there are services to help these businesses get information on the other countries they may be exporting to. In addition, and to mark Small Business Week, we need to put an emphasis on small business and on helping them export.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

October 28th, 2014 / 10:30 a.m.
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Conservative

John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to be sharing my time with the member for Kelowna—Lake Country.

It is my pleasure to reiterate the importance of Canada's free trade agreement with Korea. No government in Canada's history has been more committed to the creation of jobs and prosperity for Canadian businesses, workers, and their families. Deepening Canada's trading relationships in dynamic and high-growth markets around the world is key to these efforts. Our government understands the importance of trade to our economy. It represents one out of every five jobs in Canada and accounts for more than 60% of our country's annual income.

The Canada-Korea free trade agreement is an ambitious state-of-the-art agreement covering virtually all sectors and aspects of trade between Canada and Korea. It would also be Canada's first free trade agreement with an Asian market.

When President Park of the Republic of Korea visited Canada in September, she and the Prime Minister also announced their intention to develop an agreement on science, technology, and innovation co-operation between our two countries. I would like to focus my remarks on this important development in the Canada-Korea relationship.

Canada is globally renowned for its strength in innovation, its R and D capacity, and its highly trained workforce. Research and development is crucial for Canada's success as a trading nation. It plays a key role in shaping the economy and creating the jobs of the future. It creates new goods and services that improve the standard of living for Canadians and for communities around the world.

The Canadian science, technology, and innovation landscape is rich and diverse. Our Conservative government understands the importance of science, technology, and innovation in addressing key societal challenges. Indeed, all Canadians know our future growth and place in the world will increasingly be driven by our ability to innovate.

Let me provide some insights into how innovation is linked to economic development. The Science, Technology and Innovation Council of Canada describes science and technology, and specifically research and development, as involving the “creation of new knowledge”. Innovation requires that knowledge or technology introduced into the marketplace or into an organization creates value. Being able to translate ideas from the lab to the marketplace is extremely important for Canada.

To remain successful in the highly competitive global economy, Canada must continue to improve its approach for developing high-quality, talented people performing world-leading research and generating new breakthrough ideas. Our government recognizes that protectionist restrictions stifle our exporters and undermine Canada's competitiveness, which in turn adversely affects middle-class Canadian families. International collaboration in science, technology, and innovation is increasingly important to our ability to stay at the leading edge.

Canada generates about 4.1% of global knowledge, despite accounting for just 0.5% of the world's population. That is courtesy of the Council of Canadian Academies, The State of Science and Technology in Canada, 2012. Clearly, we are punching above our weight, and our linkages with international innovation leaders are crucial to maintaining our advantage.

Korea is an ideal partner for Canada in science, technology, and innovation co-operation. Strengthening relations with Korea through a formal agreement would allow Canada to build a lasting strategic framework with one of the world's most innovative economies. Korea is not only a top funder of research and development projects, but an expert in introducing new technologies into the marketplace. These are the types of partners Canada needs to advance our expertise in innovation.

In addition to supporting the relationship between the two countries, a science, technology, and innovation agreement would complement the Canada-Korea free trade agreement by enhancing opportunities for Canadian industry to gain access to cutting-edge research networks and technology in Korea.

A preliminary analysis suggests that the most promising sectors for co-operation align with those that would be supported by Canada's free trade agreement with Korea, namely aerospace; automotive; energy, including sustainable technologies; advanced manufacturing; health and life sciences, including pharmaceuticals and medical devices; and information communication technology, or ICTs.

If the House will permit me, I would like to discuss the benefits that would accrue to Canadians from strengthening the Canada-Korea science, technology, and innovation relationship.

A science, technology, and innovation or STI agreement would be supported by robust CKFTA outcomes in the areas of services, investment, temporary entry, and intellectual property.

The services and investment provisions would provide Canadian suppliers of professional services such as R and D with greater and more predictable access to the Korean market and would encourage additional investment in the science, technology, and innovation sectors.

Temporary entry provisions would provide new preferential access to the Korean market, facilitating movement between Canada and South Korea for business visitors.

The free trade agreement's commitment to strong intellectual property rights and rules for their enforcement would provide Canadians who develop and market innovative and creative products with access to the Korean market. An STI agreement would be an effective tool to assist Canadian companies to increase exports of value-added industrial and advanced manufacturing products, making Korea an attractive market not only for our traditional energy and agricultural exports but also for science, technology, and innovation exports. An STI agreement would also benefit Canada by facilitating increased access for Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs, as well as research institutes and universities to Korea's innovative ecosystem and global value chains. Canada's R and D largely depends on our universities. Korea relies much more on industry. The Korean R and D approach can help Canada commercialize research and scale products.

Finally, an STI agreement with Korea would strengthen people-to-people ties by providing a forum for government, researchers, industry, and key Canadian stakeholders to develop opportunities to collaborate and leverage the latest R and D and technological advancements in strategic sectors. It would increase knowledge of innovation systems by providing a forum for both countries to learn about respective STI policies, programs, and government funding structures, providing further insights into innovation, growth, and export strategies.

We stand with Canadians, incredibly disappointed that New Democrats tried to completely gut the bill at the trade committee, where they tabled amendments to remove the investor protection provisions, which are the cornerstones of modern trade and investment agreements. This is just as harmful as the neglect of international trade under the Liberals, who took Canada virtually out of the game of trade negotiations and put Canadian workers and businesses at severe risk of falling behind in this era of global markets.

Fortunately, our Conservative government is committed to protecting and strengthening the long-term financial security of hard-working Canadians. Thanks to the actions under our government's free trade leadership, Canadian workers, businesses, and exporters now have preferred access and a real competitive edge in more markets around the world than at any other time in our history.

The Canada-Korea free trade agreement is yet another example of how we are getting the job done. This agreement would strengthen our trade and investment ties across the Pacific, increase the prosperity of both our countries, and create jobs and enhanced opportunities for Canadian businesses.

With that, I call for the prompt implementation of the Canada-Korea free trade agreement for the benefit of Canada and all Canadians.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

October 28th, 2014 / 10:40 a.m.
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NDP

Ève Péclet NDP La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, could my colleague tell me exactly what Canada stands to gain from this investor state dispute settlement mechanism?

After signing the investor state dispute settlement section, chapter of 11 of NAFTA, the Canadian government had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to American companies and lost the capacity and the possibility to legislate environmental policies or investment policies.

I would like the member to tell us what exactly we are going to get from this kind of mechanism in another trade agreement. Are we going to have to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to Korean companies, as we did for American companies? I would like the member to tell us what we are going to get from these kinds of mechanisms.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

October 28th, 2014 / 10:40 a.m.
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Conservative

John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, this government is committed to creating free trade opportunities for Canadian businesses around the world. In fact, in the past seven years, some 43 new trade agreements have been signed globally by the government. That is something that I think all Canadians should not only be proud of but should also see as opportunities for growth.

The Canada-Korea free trade agreement is going to create thousands of jobs for hard-working Canadians by increasing Canada's exports to South Korea by 32% and boosting Canada's economy by $1.7 billion. This is opportunity.

In much the same way as we recently discussed in relation to the Canada-European trade agreement, this agreement would open up job opportunities to Canadians in Korea, it will bring Korean companies to Canada, and it will give access to Canadian manufacturers and service companies to some 70 million Koreans. As we discussed in relation to the European free trade agreement, there will be some 500 million new customers for Canadian businesses.

This is an opportunity that opens up business opportunities for Canadian business on a level playing field between Canada and Korea, and it is something that I think is good for all Canadians.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

October 28th, 2014 / 10:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, what we have witnessed is a great deal of Conservative spin coming right from the Prime Minister's Office.

Nothing could be further from the truth than to say the Conservative government is a leader when it comes to trade. In reality, when it comes to trade, the government has lost more trade opportunities than any other political entity in the history of Canada.

The member made references to 43 trade agreements, but 28 of those countries are all part of one, the European Union. When the member says 43, he has to watch the way he twists the words around.

When it comes to the Canada-Korea deal, this is a deal Korea expressed an interest in back in 2003. One year later, Paul Martin said that we should act on this opportunity. It took this government years and years of being pulled by the South Korean government, and now we finally have an agreement before us.

How many opportunities and jobs does the member feel Canadians have lost because of the government's inability to negotiate a freer trade agreement with South Korea years ago?

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

October 28th, 2014 / 10:45 a.m.
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Conservative

John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, if we are going to talk spin, clearly my friend opposite has strayed far from the topic at hand today.

Let us just talk about this. In the tenure of the Liberal Party as government for this country, it signed three free trade agreements. We have signed 43. If we lump in 28 from the European Union, that is fine. Canadian businesses now have access to 500 million consumers.

We are not losing opportunities. We are gaining them every day through an international trade component led by this government that is getting the job done for Canadians and for Canadian growth and Canadian prosperity.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

October 28th, 2014 / 10:45 a.m.
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Conservative

Ron Cannan Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to this important free trade agreement and to share my time with the hard-working member for Don Valley West.

I will start off by reconfirming that there is no government in Canada's history that has been more committed to the creation of jobs and prosperity for Canadian businesses, workers, and their families. The Minister of International Trade has been spending many days away from home trying to secure new markets and to deepen Canada's trading relationships in dynamic and high-growth markets around the world. I think it is key to these efforts.

The Canada-Korea free trade agreement, Canada's first FTA with an Asia-Pacific nation, is an ambitious, state-of-the-art agreement covering virtually all sectors and aspects of free trade.

Today I will speak specifically to the foundation of the agreement, which is the extensive and profound people-to-people ties that bind Canada and South Korea. I think that is a very important aspect that has not really been talked about.

It is an increasingly interconnected world. People-to-people ties are crucial to ensuring long-term success in the competitive global economy. It is all about relationships, and this free trade agreement is a classic example. It is a landmark achievement that would result in mutual benefits and prosperity for both of our countries and that would lay the foundation to unlock the full potential of our political, economic, and secure relations.

Canada can leverage its rich history and flourishing people-to-people ties with South Korea to build on this free trade agreement and pave the pathway to jobs and prosperity for generations to come.

Canada and South Korea have had formal diplomatic relations for over 50 years, yet the connections between our two peoples extend back more than a century. Prior to the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1963, Canada came to South Korea's aid in the Korean War, contributing the third-largest contingent of troops to UN forces. More than 26,000 Canadian soldiers stood shoulder to shoulder with their Korean brothers and sisters against the spread of tyranny. Unfortunately, more than 500 individuals ultimately gave their lives. George Barr, from the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 26 in my riding, and others across Canada, have been incredible ambassadors for the Canada-Korea relationship. The memories of helping folks in Korea and Canada continue to strengthen that bond.

Korean President Park was here last month for her official state visit, and she laid a wreath in memory at the National War Memorial. It was one of the highlights of her visit and was a testament to the importance of the shared history of our two nations.

When I had the honour of travelling with the Prime Minister and the delegation in March for the initial signing of the agreement in Seoul, the Prime Minister and the delegation laid a wreath at the Seoul National Cemetery, as well.

I would like to take a moment to think about Corporal Cirillo. His funeral procession is taking place in Hamilton right now. I am thinking about soldiers, the men and women who sacrifice their lives, and our thoughts and prayers go out to their families as well.

After the Korean War, almost 7,000 additional Canadian soldiers served as peacekeepers in South Korea between 1953 and 1957. Canada also participated in supervising South Korea's first elections in 1948 as part of the United Nations temporary commission on Korea. Aside from the United States, Canada is the only other state that has permanent military representation, with the United Nations Command, otherwise known as the UNC, in Korea.

Canada continues to participate in the UNC Military Armistice Commission that supervises the armistice. Last year, a delegation of Canadian veterans, led by the current Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the member for Lévis—Bellechasse, travelled to South Korea to mark the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice on July 27, 2013.

Building on our proud and shared history, our bilateral relationship is further championed and advanced by our strong, growing, people-to-people ties. Canada is home to some 200,000 people who identify themselves as being of Korean origin. It is the fourth-largest Korean diaspora in the world. Over 23,000 Canadians are currently residing in South Korea, including around 3,200 language teachers.

Last year, our government designated the year 2013 the Year of Korea in Canada. It marked the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and Korea and celebrated the contributions of the Korean diaspora to Canadian society.

The Year of Korea in Canada featured a number of cultural and artistic events. I am sure many members had the opportunity to take them in. There were great festivities across the country that gave Canadians the opportunity to learn more about Korean culture, tradition, and diversity.

The Canada-Korea Interparliamentary Friendship Group is co-chaired by Senator Yonah Martin, Canada's first and only Korean senator, an incredible, hard-working individual. She shares that responsibility with our acting Speaker, the member for Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, who has held three successful Canada-Korea dialogue series on the Hill, the last of which was held in June this year. It was attended by more than 100 participants.

Senator Martin, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, and the member for Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock also travelled to Seoul, Korea, in September to meet with senior government officials, Korean national assembly members, and business officials to discuss the wide-ranging benefits of the trade agreement to continue to move this agreement forward.

Some Canadians were a bit disappointed with the NDP at committee recently when members tried to remove what I believe is one of the cornerstones of a modern trade agreement, the investor protection provisions. The Liberals talked about this trade agreement in 2003, but it was our Prime Minister and the Minister of International Trade who were actually able to get this over the goal line.

The opposition had taken us virtually out of the game of international trade. It was not a priority for them, and I understand their reasons. However, our government wants to create jobs and open doors and opportunities to put Canadian workers and businesses first. The opposition put us at severe risk of falling behind in the era of global markets, but that has changed in a positive manner. Fortunately for Canadians, our Conservative government is committed to protecting and strengthening the long-term financial security of hard-working Canadians.

Last month, during President Park's visit to Canada, our government announced its intent to develop a science, technology, and innovation agreement with South Korea, providing Canada with the opportunity to further strengthen the people-to-people ties and to build a lasting strategic framework with one of the world's most innovative economies and top funders of research and development.

The agreement would provide Canadian stakeholders with opportunities to create new partnerships and enhance business-to-business linkages through a mechanism that would directly support bilateral, industry-led research and development funding projects in strategic areas.

As well, I am proud to say that our education ties are extensive and growing. I am sure members from all parties have constituents who have gone to South Korea. It is Canada's third-largest source of international students. We have had constituents going there to teach, and we have had more than 19,000 young and talented students choose Canada as the destination of choice to pursue their education. Based on the average estimated expenditure by international students in Canada per year, that would translate to Korean students contributing over $500 million to the Canadian economy. Many high-calibre international students choose to stay in Canada post-graduation, leading to the enrichment of human capital in Canada. Those who go back to Korea are some of Canada's best ambassadors.

There are over 100 active agreements among institutions in Canada and South Korea facilitating the exchange of students, faculty, staff, and curricula and providing joint research and degree programs. That is very important. The Government of Canada has a number of memoranda of understanding with South Korea, including in the areas of industrial science, engineering and technology, research, co-operation, clean technologies, energy, and Arctic research and development.

On tourism, over 140,000 Korean tourists visited Canada in 2013. It is the eighth-largest source of tourists to Canada, which is very important to my riding of Kelowna—Lake Country. They spent almost $250 million in the Canadian economy. South Korea is one of the Canadian Tourism Commission's top-ten priority leisure markets. In 2013, the annual growth in the number of Korean tourists to Canada stood at 3.3%. An estimated four million Korean travellers are actively considering a Canadian holiday in the next two years.

On September 22, the Prime Minister and Korean President Park witnessed the signing of an open-skies air transport agreement between Canada and Korea, another significant milestone moving forward.

Ultimately our goal is to create jobs and growth for the benefit of Canadian businesses, workers, and their families. That is why we will continue to deliver pro-export leadership.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

October 28th, 2014 / 10:55 a.m.
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NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his comments. As members probably know, his riding borders mine, and we work together on a number of issues.

I would just like to get a straight answer, if I can. We have brought up investor state rights, and I am hearing from the other side that wanting to have an amendment to this agreement to take out investor state rights is somehow contrary to trade or means wanting to block the agreement.

I have been following the whole idea of investor state rights ever since NAFTA. It seems ludicrous to me that any government would allow a foreign company to sue the government because it might feel that it was not treated fairly by certain environmental legislation or laws that were put in place by people at the municipal, provincial, or federal level.

I would like clarification. Why is it so important to have these investor state rights, when we have a legal system in both of our countries that can do the job, that will give our tax dollars to foreign companies, should they choose to sue us, either to defend the federal government or to make a payout? To me it does not make any sense. Why do we need to have this provision in an agreement between two civilized countries that would take our tax dollars to pay their corporations? Something is not quite right here, and I would like a definite explanation.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

October 28th, 2014 / 11 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Ron Cannan Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, I too would like to thank my hon. colleague from the British Columbia Southern Interior. I know that he is not going to be running next year, so I wish him all the best in his retirement. We have had many opportunities to spend hours in the air together and chat as we have crossed back and forth to our ridings.

Philosophically, the aspect the New Democrats need to understand is investor protection. Our government believes that it is important that Canadians investing in another country are protected through a neutral third party, just as another country's investors who are investing in Canada would expect to be protected by the rule of law. What we would have is an independent third party that would protect the investments and look at them from an objective, neutral perspective. That is the challenge. Anyone doing business would expect to be treated fairly. I do not think it is unreasonable to have the expectation, whether it is Canadian investors investing in another country or people from another country investing in Canada, that they will be treated with respect and objectively and with fairness.

That is what we would have with the investor state provision. It has been around. It has been a cornerstone of trade agreements since NAFTA. It is an important cornerstone of modern trade agreements that we recognize around the world.