Australia has concluded negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Republic of Korea, our third-largest goods export market and fourth-largest trading partner.
Building stronger trading relationships in Asia was a key election commitment and part of the Coalition's plan to build a strong, prosperous economy.
As a result of the Agreement, tariffs will be eliminated on Australia's major exports to Korea and there will be significant new market openings in services and investment. The FTA translates to higher economic growth and more jobs for Australians.
As part of the FTA, tariffs of up to 300 per cent will be eliminated on key Australian agricultural exports such as beef, wheat, sugar, dairy, wine, horticulture and seafood, as well as resources, energy and manufactured goods.
The FTA will also provide new market opportunities in Korea for Australian services in education, telecommunications and a range of professional services including financial, accounting and legal services.
The benefits of the FTA start flowing immediately and will be long-lasting. Independent modelling shows the Agreement would be worth $5 billion between 2015 and 2030 and boost the economy by around $650 million annually after 15 years.
Agricultural exports to Korea will be 73 per cent higher after 15 years as a result of the FTA and overall exports to Korea will be 25 per cent higher resulting in the creation of more than 1700 jobs.
Australian automotive suppliers would benefit from the immediate removal of tariffs as high as eight per cent; the wine industry from tariffs of 15 per cent and Australian wheat growers, potato farmers and cherry, grape and mango producers would all stand to benefit.
The Agreement also opens up opportunities for creative collaboration between Australia and Korea with producers able to develop screen content for the international marketplace.
The FTA secures Australia's position in a major market where competitors like the United States, European Union and ASEAN countries are already benefitting from preferential access.
Minister Robb and his Korean counterpart, Trade Minister Yoon, concluded negotiations earlier this week. The Agreement will be signed and come into operation following domestic approval processes in Australia and Korea.
Bilateral trade between Australia and Korea reached $32 billion in 2012 and this agreement will help take that to a new level.
Australia and Korea are natural partners and this FTA will bring our economies and societies even closer and underpin a strong relationship for years to come.
- Trade and Investment Minister's Office: (02) 6277 7420
- DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555