South Korea

South Korea is the world’s 11th largest economy and eighth largest trading nation. As British Columbia’s fourth-largest trading partner, South Korea enjoys good relations with our province and derives over half of its Canadian imports from B.C. Coal, copper, aluminum and wood products are among B.C.’s key exports to Korea.
Accounting for $2.9 billion of the province’s trade in 2017, South Korea’s technology-intensive economy and demand for imported resources presents a great number of export opportunities for B.C. companies.

An economy heavily dependent on trade, South Korea is a key market of opportunity for B.C. exports of agrifood and seafood, natural resources – forestry, mining and natural gas – and the technology industries including digital media, information and communications technology, clean technology and renewable energy.

Key Sector Opportunities for Exporters



B.C. and Canadian agrifood/seafood products enjoy strong brand recognition in Korea for quality and food safety.This reputation, coupled with the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA), is helping to enhance B.C.’s competitiveness in the market. Eliminating 87% of tariffs on agrifood and seafood over time, the CKFTA is yielding significant gains for B.C. agrifood/seafood producers selling into Korea, a market which imports 70% of its food products.

Learn more about export opportunities for our agrifoods sector.


Due to its geography and lack of mature forests, South Korea is highly dependent on imports to meet its demand for wood and forestry products. As a result, B.C. is well positioned to be a key supplier of lumber, pulp and paper, and value-added wood products. Representing $338 million on average from 2013 to 2017, B.C. supplies 90% of Canada’s exports to South Korea in this sector. Under the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement, tariffs as high as 10% on lumber and value-added wood products will become duty-free within ten years.

Learn more about export opportunities for our forestry sector.



With few reserves of its own, South Korea relies on imported energy, metals and other mineral commodities. All of South Korea’s petroleum, bituminous coal, uranium and copper are imported, along with 99%of iron. The country is the world’s third and fourth largest importer of metallurgical coal and copper, respectively and B,C. enjoys strong sales to South Korea of these commodities. As well, South Korean metal firms have established operations in the province, a testament to British Columbia’s reputation as a stable and preferred supplier, which helps to ensure B.C. is positioned for increased exports to South Korea as the country’s economy continues to expand.

Learn more about export opportunities for our mining sector.


Natural Gas

South Korea is the world’s second-largest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and is expected to steadily increase its consumption through 2040. In addition, the Korean government is executing a new energy policy that seeks to expand natural gas in the power mix and to diversify the country’s natural gas suppliers. With over 576 trillion cubic feet in recoverable deposits, British Columbia is strongly positioned to help South Korea meet its energy needs.

Learn more about export opportunities for our LNG sector.



British Columbia’s engineering, construction and related service companies have opportunities to enter the South Korean market to sell transportation technologies, solutions, services and products. In addition, our vibrant aerospace and marine manufacturing and maintenance industries are well positioned to market their products and services to the South Korean market.

Learn more about export opportunities for our transportation sector.


International Education

South Korea’s population is well educated, well-travelled and has a strong global orientation. As B.C.’s second-largest source of overseas students, South Korea is the province’s largest English language student market and represent a significant portion of K-12 and post-secondary international students in the province. Supporting the development of international partnerships between educational institutions in B.C. and South Korean helps to grow and maintain our province’s status as a destination of choice for Korean students.

Learn more about export opportunities for our international education sector.



As a global leader in the development and consumption of high-tech goods and services, South Korea is highly engaged in renewable energy, clean technology, information and communication technology, and digital creative industries. South Korean tech firms recognize the strengths of B.C.’s tech sector for potential business development opportunities, highly -value innovation partnerships and as a strategic point of entry for growth in the North American market. Business opportunities exist across a wide range of technology sub-sectors where B.C. firms can supply innovative tech goods and services and serve as strategic partners for Korean firms looking to expand overseas. 

Learn more about export opportunities for our technology sector.


Trade Agreements

In force since 2015, the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA) covers virtually all aspects of the Canada-South Korea trade including goods and services, investment, government procurement, non-tariff barriers, environment and labour cooperation, and other areas of economic activity. Tariff reduction and elimination is providing B.C. companies’ preferential market access and greater export potential. As of 2018, 93% of Canadian goods are eligible for duty-free access into South Korea. Under the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement, tariffs as high as 10% on lumber and value-added wood products will become duty-free within ten years.
The Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement is helping to create new and expanded trade opportunities British Columbia exporters and is levelling the playing field for B.C. businesses competing with South Korea’s other trading partners. Read about the opportunities for B.C. businesses, investors and workers in domestic and international trade agreements.:

Opportunities in Trade Agreements