Harper: Asia, Canada must strengthen ties

Dec. 7, 2009 at 2:10 PM
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SEOUL, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Asia is becoming the world's new economic engine as western nations experience slower growth.

Markets in the United States and Europe are likely to experience a slow recovery, Harper told business leaders in Seoul Monday.

"So the great opportunity is obviously in the Asia-Pacific region," he said, noting Canada has the natural resources Asia needs for its economic surge.

In a separate meeting Monday, Harper and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak vowed to increase efforts to reach a comprehensive trade agreement and to work to lift a 6-year-old South Korean ban on Canadian beef, CTV reported.

In recent years, Canada has realized trade agreements with Columbia and Peru and now must focus on Asian countries, Harper said at a news conference, Canwest News Service reported.

"The great opportunity for the diversification of Canadian trade in the long term is obviously in the Asia Pacific region," Harper said.

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