Special Report; Korea, Canada Enjoy Growing Commercial Ties

Article excerpt

For all Canadians and friends of Canada, July 1 is an opportunity to get together and celebrate Canada's birthday. This year, July 1 marks the 132nd anniversary of the birth of the Canadian confederation on July 1, 1867.

Canada and Korea have enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial relationship. Canadians were among the first westerners to arrive in Korea late 19th Century, and they participated in the introduction to Korea of modern medicine and educational practices. The Canadian doctor of veterinary medicine, Dr. Francis Schofield (1889-1970) was so intimately involved with the Samil Movement, that when the famous 33 Koreans signed a Declaration of Independence on March 1, 1919, Schofield was considered as the ``34th man,'' and is the only foreigner buried in the Patriot's section of the National Cemetery in Seoul.

During the Korean War, Canada helped repel the invading North Korean and Chinese forces, and contributed the third largest armed contingent in the UN command. Since then, tens of thousands of Koreans have made Canada their home and contributed to the richness and cultural diversity of our country. Through tourism, business or overseas education, Koreans are discovering Canada in ever-growing numbers.

At the end of the 20th Century, the Canada-Korea relationship is notable for a partnership in a variety of areas, including politics, business, academia and culture. Wolsung, in the southern part of the peninsula, is home to four Canada-Designed heavy water reactors. Canadian banks offer services to Korean clients in Seoul.

The most notable event of this year will be the visit of President Kim Dae-jung to Canada, July 4-7. The President's host will be their Excellencies the Governor-General of Canada and Mrs. Romeo Leblanc of Canada. The President and accompanying Korean ministers will have the opportunity for lengthy exchanges of views with Prime Minister Jean Chretien and his ministerial colleagues. The President will also meet with senior representatives of the Canadian business community and members of the Korean-Canadian community.

Canada and Korea share similar views on a variety of issues of concern to the international community. President Kim has an unrivalled status among his fellow heads of state for his long commitment to democratic values and human rights. Canada, too, has an outstanding international reputation as a defender of those values. I believe there is great opportunity for cooperation between Seoul and Ottawa, within the international community, to advance these common values both regionally and globally.

Canada and Korea enjoy a rich bilateral commercial relationship. In 1997, Korea was Canada's 4th largest market in the world. Canadian companies are major partners with Korean firms in areas such as aerospace, telecommunications, automotive, informatics, while technology exchanges are increasingly important. 1998 has seen a significant increase in the level of Canadian investment in Korea. …