Feature Story                                                                                                    Friday, August 22, 2014


Take A Giant Step

Chilliwack company hosts business meeting to iron out wrinkles in Free Trade Deal with South Korea

Staff/Voice photos


Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks with reporters Wednesday after meeting with business leaders in talks around implementation of the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement. Below, Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP Mark Strahl is all smiles as he tours IMW with his boss.


rime Minister Stephen Harper was on Chilliwack turf Wednesday for a business roundtable meeting at IMW Industries with representatives from the Canadian and Korean business communities. Discussions revolved around how exports could be enhanced under a Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement.


The basic framework of a Free Trade Agreement with Korea was hashed out in March. Now they're ironing out the details, such as eliminating trade tarriffs.


Once in place, the deal would see South Korea eliminate duties on 98 per cent of Canada's exports to that country. This, the federal government says will level playing field with their competitors in the Korean market, notably competitors from the United States and the European Union.

At the meeting, was James Moore, Minister of Industry, Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, Mark Strahl, Member of Parliament for Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon, David Ryall, President Delta Farmer's Institute, Justin Kim, Chair Korean War Commemorative Alliance, Jung Ju Lee, President BC Korean Canadian Society, Geraldine Auston, General Manager, BC Pork Producers Association and host Brian Nguyen, President, Global Operations at IMW Industries Ltd.

After the meeting, Harper toured the plant talking with some of the highly-trained engineers and machinists on the shop floor. At one point, he stopped for a selfie with an employee before addressed reporters.

"We had a great tour of what is a dynamic and growing local company, not so small actually, a fair-sized company in the gas distribution and transportation business," he said referring to IMW.

Brian Nguyen, President, Global Operations at IMW Industries Ltd. talks with reporters in the company's lobby on Wednesday.

"We're here to discuss, in particular, the Canada-Korea free trade agreement that we reached in principal earlier this year with the Republic of Korea. It's our 43rd market that we now have a trade agreement with. It is our first-ever trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific region, obviously an important gateway to this country in terms of our trading strategy into that entire region."

Harper said that Canada is the principal trading partner with South Korea and is optimistic about the progress the two countries are making in the Free Trade Deal.

"Fifty per cent of Canadian exports to South Korea come from this part of the country. Korea is already our fourth-largest trading partner and BC's fourth largest trading partner worth over $2 billion annually in terms of exports," he said.

IMW Industries has been a superstar exporter of specialized fixtures and assemblies for compressed natural gas (CNG) around the world for a long time. South Koreans need IMW's expertise and machinery to help develop their natural gas resource.

"We were approached by the PMO and were asked to host this event. It was our honour of course to have the event and have the Prime Minister here with us," Nguyen told reporters after the meeting.

The Chilliwack company's main exports are large compressor blocks and cooler assemblies. They're used on LNG main supply lines to get the line down to a size where it can be used to fuel bottles and vehicles. When the gas is compressed it heats up, so cooler assemblies are also needed.

For more information, visit www.imw.ca/en 


See more photos below.



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