British Columbia Seafood Producer Dives into Korean Market
British Columbia seafood producer Ocean Gate Fishery is landing big export deals in the South Korean market with a little help from the Province’s Trade and Investment (TIR) office in Seoul.
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In June 2014, a member of the B.C.’s Trade and Investment Representative team for South Korea met with company leaders Changwoo Lee and Yeong Chung at Ocean Gate’s Richmond facility, where Mr. Chung introduced the company and its seafood products and asked for the TIR’s assistance to find Korean buyers.
Upon returning to Seoul, the TIR team activated its network of local connections and was able to help Ocean Gate make a successful match with a Korean importer partner, Hyunjin Marine, and provide introductions to buyers in Korean supermarket chains, who were very interested in purchasing the company’s high-quality salmon and pollock. Additionally, the TIR arranged for an opportunity for Ocean Gate to donate seafood products for a feature story on British Columbia agrifoods in Korean magazine, Essen.
With glossy pictures of its sablefish, salmon and rockfish gracing the pages of the country’s most popular food and lifestyle magazine, a successful trip to meet new and potential buyers and partners at the Seoul Food show in May 2015, and plans to join other B.C. seafood companies at the Busan International Seafood Show in October, business in Korea is ramping up quickly for this British Columbia exporter.
Ocean Gate is one of many British Columbia companies eager to penetrate the Korean market since the Canada Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA) entered into force in January 2015. The landmark agreement constitutes Canada’s first free trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific region and provides new access for Canadian businesses and workers to the world’s 15th-largest economy and the fourth-largest in Asia.
In 2013, South Korea’s global agricultural imports exceeded $25 billion, making it an important export destination for agricultural exporters. Canada’s agricultural exports to South Korea averaged $644 million per year from 2011 to 2013. Once fully implemented, the CKFTA will result in the elimination of tariffs on over 98% of Canadian agricultural exports to South Korea. This duty free access will give Canadian agricultural products preferential access to the South Korean market. With room for trade with South Korea to grow further, the CKFTA provides significant opportunities for export-ready companies in Canada.
British Columbia’s agrifoods sector, including our world-renowned seafood subsector, already exports $2.7 billion to 140 countries worldwide. Buyers in Korea and around the world recognize us for our high-quality food products and strict safety standards. With a strong reputation for quality produce and a strategic Pacific Rim location, B.C. agrifood producers like Ocean Gate Fishery are well positioned to seize the market opportunities that arise as trade barriers fall.
Learn more about how British Columbia is eliminating barriers to trade.