Former Minister for Trade
Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Media Release

17 May, 2009

Visit to Australia by South Korea's Trade Minister

The Minister for Trade of the Republic of Korea, H.E. Mr Kim Jong-hoon, will visit Australia from 17 to 19 May for bilateral trade and economic talks.

"I warmly welcome Mr Kim's visit to Australia," Mr Crean said.

"On Monday, Mr Kim and I will discuss a broad range of trade and economic matters. Most significantly, we will launch the first round of negotiations for the Australia-Korea Free Trade Agreement.

"This follows the agreement to commence FTA negotiations announced by the Prime Minister and Korean President Lee in early March.

"We will also discuss the importance of bringing the WTO Doha Round to a close and working through the G-20 to address the global financial crisis".

Mr Crean said that Mr Kim would also have an opportunity to experience a unique part of Australian culture during his visit.

"Mr Kim will accompany me to the football on Sunday afternoon to see Carlton play Collingwood at the MCG. Some of South Korea's best known companies are key sponsors of AFL clubs," Mr Crean said.

South Korea is Australia's third largest destination for merchandise exports, worth A$18.5 billion in 2008, much of which is in resource and energy commodities. Our services trade is also important, with more than 35,000 enrolments by Korean students in Australian education institutions, and over 218,000 arrivals of Korean visitors, in 2008. Australian companies also are prominent and successful investors in Korea.

"There is great potential to expand further the commercial relationship, including in the services and investment sectors," Mr Crean said.

"Korea is a longstanding friend and regional partner of Australia. We share democratic values, key security interests in Northeast Asia and common alliance ties with the United States.

"Our strategic relationship was further strengthened during the recent visit to Australia by the President of the Republic of Korea, H.E. Mr Lee Myung-bak," Mr Crean said.

Media Inquiries: Mr Crean's office 02 6277 7420 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555