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Canada and the Republic of Korea (South Korea)

Bilateral relations

Canada and the Republic of Korea (commonly known as South Korea) enjoy close relations, strengthened by people-to-people ties, as well as Canada’s first and only free trade agreement in Asia-Pacific region - the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement. Canada’s involvement during the Korean War (1950-1953) and sustained positive political and economic cooperation also contribute to this relationship. The friendly bilateral relationship continues to develop as South Korea becomes an increasingly important strategic and economic partner as well as alike-minded ally in multilateral forums. Canada is represented in South Korea at an Embassy in Seoul and an honorary consulate in Busan. In Canada, South Korea is represented by an Embassy in Ottawa, and the Consulate General in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.

Trade

South Korea is Canada’s sixth largest trading partner. Canada and Korea upgraded bilateral relations to a “Strategic Partnership” in 2014, and have since implemented Canada’s first and only FTA in Asia-Pacific region, the CKFTA. Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Agreement, which took effect in 2017, in support of Canadian-Korea R&D projects. Canada-Korea two-way merchandise trade is robust, reaching $15.3 billion in 2018. Canada exported $5.9 billion of merchandise to Korea, consisting primarily of coal, agricultural products, forest products (wood, pulp and paper), iron ore, and chemicals and plastics. Canadian merchandise imports from Korea for the same year totaled over $9.4 billion in goods.

People-to-people ties

Canada and Korea share strong people-to-people linkages stemming from historical connections, which are enhanced by increasing immigration and tourism flows, as well as student exchanges. An average of 5,250 South Koreans immigrated to Canada annually between 2006 and 2016, contributing to a community of over 200,000 Canadians identifying themselves as being of Korean origin. Over 27,000 Canadians currently reside in South Korea, including about 3,200 language teachers.

Operations

Canada is committed to a close relationship with South Korea, including working together on regional security issues on the Korean Peninsula. The two Koreas technically remain at war, as hostilities were concluded with an armistice, not a peace treaty. Canada remains gravely concerned about North Korea’s provocative and destabilizing actions, such as nuclear and missile tests and related proliferation, and coordinates closely with South Korea in response to these activities.

Canada has its presence in United Nations Command (UNC), which oversees the implementation of the Korean War Armistice Agreement via the UNC’s Military Armistice Commission. Canada has a sustained contribution of Canadian Forces members embedded in UNC provides exercises to contribute to the stability and security in the region.  These exercises include strategic planning and consultations with military and diplomatic counterparts from participating partners and allied nations, and are designed to enhance the readiness of the Combined Forces Command on the Korean Peninsula.

For more detail on Canada’s defence relations to South Korea please visit the Defence Relations page.

Multilateral partnerships

Trade and investment agreements


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Date Modified:
2020-03-26