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.