Logos for Seoul Forum and Sprott School of Business at Carleton Univeristy


OTTAWA – Citing growing global uncertainty, Korea and Canada must take urgent steps to enhance their Strategic Partnership that was established in 2014, says a new report released today by the 17th Canada-Korea Forum.

The Report – called “The Next Five Years: Korean-Canadian Relations in a Rapidly Changing World – identifies key areas where Canada and Korea should further develop common strategic priorities and activities over the next five years to gain economic and security benefits and to tackle shared challenges in a rapidly changing world.

In addition, leaders of business organizations agreed to organize CEO-led missions and to conduct a wide-ranging joint study to identify – amidst the shifting economic and technological environment — the areas of highest potential for expanded business ties, investments and trade, including ventures in third countries.

“The first five years of the Canada-Korea FTA helped to drive closer trade and investment ties between our countries, but there is clearly a lot more to do,” says Goldy Hyder, president and CEO of the Business Council of Canada. “Both Canada and Korea are facing pressure to diversify trade and we hope that over the next five years we can drive even closer economic ties through more business engagement and greater promotion of key sectoral opportunities in both markets.”

The Forum is a senior non-governmental bilateral group that meets regularly and advises governments, business leaders and others on leading trends and opportunities in the Canada-Korea relationship.

The Forum’s report notes that both countries are democratically governed, share similar values and respect for human rights, and are significant global powers that embrace free market economies. However, unfavourable trends in global affairs in the last few years – including the growing rivalry between China and the U.S., rising security threats, increased trade protectionism and the rise of autocratic leaders – present threats to both countries’ peace and prosperity.

“Both Canada and Korea are very close friends of the United States,” says Dr. Hong-Koo Lee, former prime minister, Republic of Korea. “Why not try to strengthen the special relations between Canada and Korea? We can support the advancement of democracy, free trade, and above all, peace.”

Canadian Forum Co-Chair Len Edwards, former ambassador to the Republic of Korea, says the message from the Forum is loud and clear:

“In the more trying times in which we live, our two countries are natural partners with enormous undeveloped space for working together on regional and global problems and easing tensions, and for contributing to each other’s prosperity and well-being. It’s an opportunity we must not miss.”

Due to the COVID pandemic, members of the Forum met via a virtual conference in October 2020 that was organized by the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University and the Seoul Forum for International Affairs.

The Forum held two sessions – one on economic and business relations and the other on security and political relations – that culminated in sixteen recommendations.

Key recommendations made by participants include:

  • Enhancing trade, investment and innovation ties in the areas of artificial intelligence, the automotive industry and pension investments;
  • Intergenerational engagement through a bilateral business council and cooperation among business schools;
  • Strategic cooperation in managing the impacts of the China-U.S. rivalry and in promoting democracy and the liberal international order;
  • Advocating for the effective distribution of COVID-19 vaccine worldwide; and,
  • Addressing the growing threat of North Korean nuclear armament.

“This report speaks to the future of two countries that share a special bond,” concludes The Hon. Jean Charest, former Premier of Quebec and a participant in the Forum. “Our future depends on our ability to work with like minded countries that we trust and on whom we can depend to help us expand markets while benefiting from each other’s expertise and experience in the areas of education, health care and social policy.”

Other notable Canadian participants in the Forum included: Dr. Dean Dana Brown of the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University; Senator Peter Harder; and, Pierre Pettigrew, former federal Cabinet Minister and current Chair of the Board of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.

Korean participants included: former Prime Minister Lee Hong-koo; Myung Ja Kim, former Minister and current President of the Seoul Forum for International Affairs; Sung-Joon Yim, Ambassador to Canada and former President of the Korea Foundation; and, Vice Chairman Tae-shin Kwon of the Federation of Korean Industries.

Copies of the full report can be found here.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Tina J. Park, CEO, The Park Group



Friday, January 15, 2021 in
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