Today marks the second anniversary of the entry into force of Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA).  KAFTA is delivering strong trade results across a broad range of sectors in Australia, and plays a vital role in growing our important economic and trade partnership with the Republic of Korea.

For example, as tariffs have fallen, the value of fresh cherry exports has surged more than 50-fold. Elsewhere, in the first three-quarters of 2016, compared to the same period in 2014 prior to KAFTA, exports of chipping potatoes and shelled macadamias have more than tripled, and there have been solid increases in exports of other products like beef, sheep meat, pigments and preparations based on titanium dioxide, and bottled wine.  In the same period, the value of Korean imports of Australian liquefied natural gas has more than tripled, and sugar imports from Australia have more than doubled.

The increased trade from KAFTA is creating new Australian jobs. Companies such as GAIA Skin Naturals, an organic skincare company from Hallam in Victoria, who export to Korea, are expanding their facilities and hiring more staff to meet increased export demand.

"Where the North Asia FTAs have come through, what we've seen is about a thirty-six percent increase. It's quite significant growth for us. To still be experiencing double-digit and triple-digit growth this far into our journey I think is exceptional, which is great because it's enabled us to grow, it's enabled our supply chain to grow," said GAIA General Manager, Simon Vogrinec.

A fourth round of KAFTA tariff cuts will occur on 1 January 2017, delivering yet another boost for exporters looking to meet Korean demand for premium Australian products.

In November, I met my Korean counterpart and we reviewed progress on KAFTA and discussed prospects for improved access to the market for Australian services.

These regular reviews mean KAFTA will stay relevant well into the future, driving the conditions necessary for more Australian exports to Korea and more jobs at home.

Media enquiries

  • Trade Minister's Office: (02) 6277 7420
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555