Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper announced 2013 as the Year of Korea on December 4, 2012. On the basis of the strong relationship between Korea and Canada for the last 50 years, Canada will promote a number of cultural and artistic events nationwide with support from the Embassy of the Republic of Korea. A detailed news release follows below.
(Photos courtesy of Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper’s official website / www.pm.gc.ca )
The Government of Canada is committed to enhancing bilateral relations with South Korea, in addition to promoting cultural diversity in Canada. To this end, on December 4, 2012, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that 2013 would be designated as the Year of Korea in Canada, which aims to highlight Korea’s culture, traditions and diversity, and to celebrate the contributions of the Korean Diaspora to Canadian society.
Organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea to Canada, the Year of Korea in Canada will feature a number of cultural and artistic events across the country and will give Canadians the opportunity to learn more about the Korean culture.
Canada-South Korea relations
2013 will mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and South Korea, as well as the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice. The friendly bilateral relationship between the two countries continues to grow as South Korea becomes an increasingly important economic partner and as both countries continue to collaborate in multilateral fora.
Our relations are also further enhanced by a series of high level visits. Prime Minister Harper has travelled to South Korea three times since 2006, including for an official visit in December 2009, the G-20 Summit in Seoul in November 2010, and the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit in March 2012.
Canada and South Korea support trade liberalization – including strengthening the multilateral trading system – and work together in a number of economic organizations, including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the G-20. Both countries also share similar views on many multilateral and global issues, including UN Security Council reform, human rights and non-proliferation and disarmament.
Canada and South Korea also have strong people-to-people ties stemming from increasing immigration and tourism flows, academic exchanges and historical connections. People-to-people exchanges have increased with over 250,000 people travelling between Canada and Korea every year. As of December 2011, there were more than 20,000 Korean students studying in Canada, making Korea Canada’s third largest source of international students after China and India.
There are currently 119 active agreements between institutions in Canada and in South Korea, facilitating the exchange of students, faculty, staff and curricula, joint research and joint degree program. There are also two elementary/secondary schools in South Korea licensed to teach curriculums from Canada’s provinces: BIS Canada (British Columbia curriculum) and the Canada Maple International School (Manitoba curriculum). Students in these schools are significantly more likely to choose Canada as their destination for Post-Secondary studies. South Korea is home to a modest-sized but reasonably active Canadian Studies community, including a number of university-based centres and the Korean Association for Canadian Studies.
Trade and Investment
The Canadian government has identified South Korea as one of 13 priority markets under the Global Commerce Strategy. The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has identified the following sectors as holding significant potential for Canadian companies: 1) agriculture, food and beverages; 2) building products and construction; 3) mining and minerals; 4) education; and, 5) information and communication technologies.
South Korea is Canada’s seventh largest merchandise trading partner and its third largest in Asia, after China and Japan. Two-way merchandise trade between Canada and South Korea is robust, reaching nearly $11.7 billion in 2011. Canadian merchandise exports to South Korea were valued at almost $5.1 billion in 2011, consisting mainly of mineral fuels and oils, cereals, wood pulp, mineral ores, and meat. That same year, Canadian merchandise imports from South Korea were valued at $6.6 billion and included vehicles, electrical and electronic equipment, machinery, mineral fuels and oils, and rubber.
Two-way stock of cumulative direct investment totalled $6.4 billion at the end of 2011, with foreign direct investment in Canada from South Korea reaching nearly $6.1 billion and Canadian direct investment in South Korea valued at $365 million. Canadian companies, such as Magna, Camoplast, Norsat, Woodbridge, Scotiabank and TD, are well represented in South Korea. Bombardier Transportation is another major Canadian company active in South Korea, having taken an ownership stake in a light rail line in suburban Seoul.