Trade mission in South Korea

Championing Ontario agri-food products in growing markets

TOKYO - Ontario wrapped up its trade mission to South Korea and Japan that included delegates promoting Ontario agri-businesses, signing new trade agreements and developing new trade opportunities in automotive, aerospace and other key emerging sectors.

Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs held a final meeting with delegates in Tokyo, highlighting successes of the mission’s more than 40 events and meetings with over 100 businesses to strengthen trade and build new international relationships.

During the agri-food portion of the trade mission, delegates from Ontario’s pork, beef, grain and other agri-food sectors met with business leaders, government representatives, importers and retailers. Through meetings, site visits and events during the trip, delegates made new connections and identified future opportunities in Seoul, Osaka and Tokyo.

While in South Korea, the Ontario government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Korea Importers Association to develop greater trade opportunities for Ontario produced goods. Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade announced that DAYLI Partners, based in Seoul, has partnered with Toronto Innovation Acceleration Partners (TIAP) to create a first-of-its-kind US$20 million global healthcare venture fund. In Japan, Ontario Corn Fed Beef and Kinsho Stores signed a collaboration agreement that will increase the availability of Ontario beef products in Japanese grocery stores.

Minister Hardeman jointly led the trade mission with Minister Fedeli, which reinforced the government’s open for business approach that will see increased trade and economic opportunity between Ontario and South Korea and Japan. Raymond Sung Joon Cho, Minister of Seniors and Accessibility, also participated in the South Korean portion of the mission and was instrumental with contact development and initiating important business meetings.

The trade mission also generated positive media coverage in Japan and South Korea that helped increase awareness of Ontario companies and our high-quality agri-food products.

“This trade mission has raised the profile of Ontario agri-food products in South Korea and Japan,” said Minister Ernie Hardeman. “Ontario businesses and agriculture organizations have made important connections with importers, retailers and government representatives, and they’ve set the stage for future business opportunities that will help our agriculture sector thrive in the future.

Hardeman noted the trade mission will support growth in Ontario agri-food exports in the South Korean and Japanese markets. It will also be key to the province’s ongoing efforts to further strengthen market access for these products in those nations.

“We set out on this joint trade mission with the goal of promoting Ontario as the ideal place to do business,” said Minister Vic Fedeli. “It’s very important to bring businesses together face-to-face to build stronger relationships in these growing markets.”

“This mission reinforced the strong message that Ontario is open for business and open for jobs,” said Minister Cho. “Reaching out in person to develop strong ties in these markets is key to strengthening our future trade relationships.”

“Ontario Pork was proud to join Minister Hardeman on the 2019 Ontario Trade Mission to South Korea and Japan. Our industry exports approximately 70 per cent of our product and welcomes the opportunity to develop new relationships and strengthen existing partnerships in these important international markets,” said Ken Ovington, General Manager, Ontario Pork.

“The mission was very helpful for Ontario beef exports, it is important that our market partners in Japan understand the commitment of the Ontario industry and government to continue to grow and expand exports of Ontario beef in an increasingly competitive environment,” said John Baker, Director of Business Development, Ontario Corn Fed Beef. “For South Korea, the mission was valuable for our entry to the market as it helped to begin creating an awareness around Ontario Beef and our supply capabilities.”

“Ontario grain is sold in every corner of the world and is known for its high quality and safety. Japan is a key strategic market and South Korea has the potential to be an important market for Ontario grain. Grain Farmers of Ontario is pleased to see the Ontario government working to keep our international markets open, and to promote the high quality of our sustainably grown grain,” said Crosby Devitt, Vice President, Grain Farmers of Ontario.

“As we come to the end of our Trade Mission to South Korea and Japan, I would like to thank the province of Ontario for its support in continuing to build the Canadian brand around the world. This was a great example of government and industry working together to strengthen our business connections and open the door for new possibilities,” said Tony Milligan, Vice President, Conestoga Meats.

“The mission was very well organized and brought us in contact with several prospective customers that we hope to do business with in 2020. The trip was definitely a valuable experience,” said Marvyn Budd, President, Planet Shrimp.

Quick Facts

  • Approximately 55,000 direct jobs and $3.0 billion in direct GDP can be attributed to Ontario’s hog industry value chain including farm, processing and retail (2018).
  • Approximately 63,000 direct jobs and $3.1 billion in direct GDP can be attributed to Ontario’s cattle industry value chain including farm, processing and retail (2018).
  • A portion of the funding for the trade mission was provided by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The Partnership is a five-year, $3-billion commitment by federal, provincial and territorial governments that supports the country’s agri-food and agri-products sectors.
  • The trade mission builds on the government’s efforts to help sectors affected by trade challenges, including the Market Access Initiative – a trade promotion funding program delivered by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and aimed at organizations or businesses affected by trade disruptions. For more information or to access program materials and applications forms, visit or call 1-877-424-1300.
  • In 2018, two-way trade between Ontario and Japan was valued at over C$13.5 billion, making it Ontario’s eight largest export partner in the world with over 200 Japanese companies currently operating in Ontario.
  • In 2018, two-way trade between Ontario and South Korea generated over C$7.2 billion, with about 30 South Korean companies currently operating in Ontario.