Team Canada Trade Mission to South Korea
As part of Canada's Indo-Pacific Strategy, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development will lead a Team Canada Trade Mission to South Korea to help Canadian exporters and innovators from across the country position themselves in this market by showcasing their capabilities and competitiveness and to facilitate long-term trade and investment opportunities.
Registration is closed.
Team Canada Trade Missions (TCTM) are Minister-led trade missions to the Indo-Pacific region tied to Canada's Indo-Pacific Strategy. These trade missions prioritize innovation sectors and seek to open doors for Canadian companies, from large and diverse businesses to SMEs led by groups traditionally underrepresented in trade, such as:
- Indigenous Peoples
- Black and other racialized Canadians
The Team Canada model also welcomes the participation of:
- provinces and territories
- other government departments
- trade portfolio partners
- chambers of commerce
- trade and industry associations
all coming together under a high-profile, "whole of Canada" approach.
Dates: Sunday, April 21 – Thursday, April 25, 2024
Market: Seoul, South Korea
Sectors: The trade mission program will be tailored to areas of Canadian competitive advantage and will focus on the following sectors:
- agriculture and processed foods (including fish and seafood)
- clean energy, clean technologies
- creative industries (audio-visual and interactive media, including gaming)
- information and communications technologies
- life sciences
Registration deadline: January 12, 2024, 17:00 E.T.
Please see eligibility requirements belowFootnote *
Why South Korea?
The Indo-Pacific region is rapidly emerging as the global center of economic dynamism and strategic importance. It currently accounts for over one-third of the world's economic activity. By 2030, the region is expected to become home to two-thirds of the global middle class, and by 2040 projected to make up over half of the global economy. These remarkable statistics highlight the significance of the Indo-Pacific region for Canadian companies, offering unparalleled opportunities for expansion, market exploration, and strategic partnerships.
Launched in November 2022, Canada's Indo-Pacific Strategy seeks to expand and deepen Canada's existing partnerships in the region. One of the five strategic objectives of the Strategy is to expand trade, investment and supply chain resilience, including through expanding our trade network at home and abroad, paving the way for long-term growth and prosperity.
As one of the key initiatives under the objective, Team Canada Trade Missions to the Indo-Pacific is an opportunity for Canadian companies to reinforce their reputation for adopting and modelling international best practices. The first full-scale Team Canada Trade Mission took place in Japan from October 29 to November 2, 2023, with a large, diverse, multisectoral delegation of 160 organizations. In 2024, in addition to South Korea, Team Canada Trade Missions will be led by Minister Ng to Malaysia and Vietnam from March 24 to 29, and to Indonesia and the Philippines in the fall.
As one of the most important economies in the region and globally, the Republic of Korea (commonly known as South Korea) is an ideal market for Canadian businesses to export to and an ideal destination for one of Canada's Team Canada Trade Missions to the Indo-Pacific. Canada and South Korea enjoy close relations, strengthened by longstanding people-to-people ties, shared values, a history of mutual support, a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership based on five shared priorities in the areas of values, security, prosperity, sustainability and beyond, and the new initiatives and commitments under Canada's Indo-Pacific Strategy.
South Korea is Canada's seventh largest trading partner and sixth largest import and export partner. Canada-Korea two-way merchandise trade is robust, reaching $21.9 billion in 2022. The Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA), Canada's first bilateral free trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific region, puts Canadian companies on a level playing field against key competitors in the South Korean market. The Agreement opens market access for Canadian exporters and investors by removing duties on nearly all tariff lines.
Canadian companies of all sizes that are already present or considering expanding business to the Indo-Pacific region can benefit from greater linkages to the South Korean economy. This includes through making important contributions to supply chain resilience and diversification, energy and food security while combatting climate change and the development of technologies that will drive future growth.
Team Canada Trade Missions welcome export-ready Canadian companies of all sizes, including exporters from diverse backgrounds, with strong potential to address opportunities in South Korea and generate tangible business outcomes.
Who is eligible to participate?
Team Canada Trade Missions welcome export-ready Canadian companies of all sizes, including exporters from diverse backgrounds, with strong potential to address opportunities in South Korea and generate tangible business outcomes. Team Canada Trade Missions also welcome provinces, territories, municipalities and other Canadian organizations, such as trade associations and chambers of commerce, looking to expand their reach and engagement in the South Korean market.
Eligibility criteria for Canadian businesses
To be considered for the Business to Business (B2B) program stream, applicants must clearly demonstrate the following:
- be export-ready and have demonstrated potential to succeed in the South Korean market
- have a commercialized product or service or one close to being commercialized
- be able to demonstrate that the products and/or services they seek to promote through the trade mission will result in significant economic benefit for Canada (e.g. increased production in Canada, employment creation, technology transfer, increased R&D activity, etc.)
- have conducted research on foreign markets and opportunities, especially preparatory work for the South Korean market
- have a realistic and credible international business plan
- have allocated resources (human, material, time and financial) toward internationalization
Selection of companies to participate in the TCTM will be based on an evaluation of the above criteria. Submission of an application does not guarantee participation. If an application is deemed not to meet the criteria, the application will be screened out.
Eligibility criteria for other organizations, such as representatives of provinces, territories, municipalities, trade portfolio partners, chambers of commerce and industry and trade associations:
- have an interest in the trade mission's sectors of focus
- have potential to contribute to fostering partnerships, knowledge exchange or economic development
- be able to bring demonstrated value to the trade mission in terms of expertise, resources, or collaboration opportunities
Program (in development)
The in-market program in South Korea and will include:
- networking opportunities with Minister Ng and South Korean business leaders
- on-site business briefings by our Trade Commissioners including on the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement, senior officials, and key local industry players
- market overviews and/or round tables with local industry and experts
- pre-arranged business to business meetings (where applicable)
Considering the large size and the broad scope of the delegation for this trade mission, delegates will be divided into two program streams:
- General program, including networking opportunities and market briefings and applies to delegates representing trade associations, chambers, government (federal, provincial, territorial, municipal) and companies that are already well established in the target market (for example, companies that have an existing robust and successful network, either through a local office or an established relationship with a local sales representative or distributor).
- Business to Business (B2B) program, which includes the general program as well as a tailored program of pre-arranged B2B meetings will be offered to a select number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) based on a careful assessment of the SME's level of export and market readiness, local demand for the SME's product/service, and degree of sector-specific opportunities in the local market. Priority will be given to SMEs that operate in the priority sectors identified in the Event details section above, that identify as being owned by entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds, and that have strong potential to address opportunities in South Korea and generate tangible business outcomes.
Each application will undergo an extensive assessment process to determine for which stream each organization may ultimately be selected.
Opportunities for Canadian companies in South Korea
Agriculture and processed food (including fish and seafood)
South Korea is a net food importer, relying on imports for over 60% of its food needs. Canada maintains a high market share for a range of products, including pork, canola oil and lobsters. South Korea is also a fast-paced market where new food trends are eagerly tested and adopted, creating significant opportunities for healthy, organic, and innovative products. With the organic equivalency arrangement for processed foods with Korea concluded in 2023, Canadian organic food and beverages can now be labeled as organic without additional certification.
Clean energy, clean technologies
South Korea's commitment to achieve net-zero by 2050 will require significant investments to decarbonize its traditional energy-intensive industries, and a move towards cleaner energy sources. Opportunities exist for Canadian companies to support South Korea's decarbonization efforts in:
- small modular reactor technologies
- hydrogen and fuel cells
- carbon capture, utilization, and storage
- circular economy applications, including recycling technologies
As a net energy importer, South Korea is looking to reliable partners, such as Canada, for securing sources of hydrogen and ammonia imports to reduce emissions from natural gas and coal and the carbon footprint.
Creative industries (audio-visual and interactive media, including gaming)
Canadian Heritage, through its Creative Export Strategy, sees great potential for Canadian creative industries to expand their exports in South Korea. In commemoration of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 2023, Canada and South Korea have designated 2024 and 2025 as years of Cultural Exchanges. The target sub-sectors include audiovisual and interactive and digital media, including gaming.
Information and communications technology
South Korea is a strong producer of ICT technologies and has created global leaders in the space. South Korea's ICT strategy focuses on strategic subsectors such as:
- quantum computing
- cyber Security, 5G, smart devices
- digital contents, and big data
South Korea is home to global enterprises such as Samsung and LG, and these large MNEs are actively investing in AI, IoT, BDA, including in other countries – e.g. AI centres in Canada. In 2022, Canada and South Korea upgraded their bilateral relationship to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, which emphasizes commitment to strengthen cooperation and bilateral trade in ICT technologies such as AI, and next generation network beyond 5G.
With over 650 pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies in South Korea, and with major South Korean companies investing heavily in new drug R&D, the South Korean government has identified biohealth, including biopharmaceuticals, as one of the strategic sectors of focus.
The South Korean government is also aiming to establish South Korea as a global vaccine hub. With the world's most rapidly aging population, South Korea pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies are focusing on new drug discoveries in areas such as oncology, immunology and neurology. Digital Therapeutics (DTx) is also a rapidly growing sub-sector in South Korea, with active industry-academia-institute open innovation partnerships.
Travel considerations and expenses
Travel advice and advisories
Before deciding to travel, please review travel health notices for COVID-19 and international travel. No matter where you plan on travelling, make sure that you check the Travel Advice and Advisories page for your destination twice: once when you are planning your trip and again shortly before you leave. Safety and security conditions may change between the date you book your travel and your departure date.
Your passport must be valid for 6 months from your date of entry into South Korea and must contain at least two blank pages for use by immigration officials. Canadian travellers are exempted from obtaining an electronic travel authorization (K-ETA) for entry into South Korea until December 2024. We strongly advise that you contact the appropriate foreign authorities for any inquiries regarding visas and entry requirements.
Travel arrangements and expenses
Programming and travel details (such as in-country transportation options and hotel block bookings) will be shared with confirmed participants as information becomes available. Participants are responsible for organizing their own travel arrangements, including all air and ground transportation to and from the airport, and to make their own accommodation reservations.
There is no fee to participate in the trade mission. However, participants are responsible for covering all related travel costs, including airfare, accommodations, ground transportation and meals not included in the program.
Important: Please make sure to purchase cancellation insurance and/or a refundable ticket in the event that the trade mission dates change.
Canadian SMEs interested in participating in a trade mission may be able to apply for CanExport Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), a Trade Commissioner Service program that provides funding to help Canadian SMEs looking to diversify their export markets.
The program is currently accepting applications from December 20, 2023, at 9 am EST to January 12, 2024, at 5 pm EST only for participants of the Team Canada Trade Mission (TCTM) to Malaysia and Vietnam (as well as Global Affairs Canada-led trade missions for businesses of diverse backgrounds). For applicants to both the Malaysia/Vietnam and South Korea TCTMs, you may apply for CanExport funding for both missions in the same application. For applicants to South Korea TCTM only, we invite you to apply once CanExport SMEs reopens for projects taking place between April 2024 and March 2025 (this opening is expected in February 2024).
Please note that successful selection as part of the TCTM delegation does not guarantee CanExport funding as these are two separate processes. CanExport funding is limited and not guaranteed – we encourage early application to be considered.
The Government of Canada, as well as individual provincial and territorial governments, also offer a number of export financing and other programs that help Canadian businesses expand internationally. Please consult the Business Benefit Finder to find programs and services suitable to your needs.
Interested in the South Korean market, but unsure whether you are ready for this opportunity?
Take the Export Quiz
Registration is closed.
As indicated above, all applications will be subject to a screening process to assess export readiness (for businesses), eligibility and suitability. To deliver a robust program that is beneficial to participating businesses, the Trade Commissioner Service reserves the right to select those Canadian export-ready companies and other organizations that are the most aligned with the sectoral focus and the objectives of the mission.
We anticipate a high demand for participation in this mission. To maximize the number of organizations able to participate, a maximum of two company representatives can register for the trade mission. Some specific program elements may have capacity limits that may only allow for the attendance of one representative per company.
If you are selected to be part of the business delegation, you will be provided with a detailed program and additional resources to assist you in making your travel arrangements.
Registration deadline: January 12, 2024, 17:00 E.T.
Questions? Please reach out to the Trade Missions Team at email@example.com or the Trade Commissioner Service.
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