Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb will visit the Republic of Korea from today until 5 October to build further support for early entry into force of the landmark Korea Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA).

Mr Robb said seeing KAFTA enter into force before the end of 2014 was an important objective of the Abbott Government. “This would see the benefits flow from a tariff cut this year, followed by a second on 1 January 2015, which would deliver early major gains for our exporters and improve our competitiveness in the Korean market,” he said.

Australia and Korea are making good progress in regard to completing their respective domestic processes to enable entry into force, but momentum needs to be maintained to see this occur before the end of this year, Mr Robb said.

In Australia associated implementing legislation is before the parliament and KAFTA secured strong endorsement from the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) and has the backing of the Opposition. “I also welcome the Korean Government’s recent submission of KAFTA to the Korean National Assembly,” Mr Robb said. 

He will discuss KAFTA with Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Yoon Sang-jick, Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, Vice Minister of Strategy and Finance Joo Hyung-hwan, and key representatives from the Korean National Assembly.

Mr Robb will also address the Korea-Australia Business Council Joint Meeting in Seoul to outline the significant opportunities arising from KAFTA and open the Australia-Korea Services Sector Promotion Forum, a business-led strategic dialogue covering financial, legal, film and smart cities services.

He will also witness the signing of an audio-visual co-production agreement between Screen Australia and the Korean Film Council and attend the Australia Future Unlimited Education Exhibition which last year attracted 71 Australian institutions and over 3,500 visitors to consider Australia as an international study destination.

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