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Korean FTA Helping To Boost Australian Exports

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

13 December 2017

Australia's Trade Minister, Steven Ciobo, has hailed the success of the country's free trade agreement with Korea, which he said has boosted exports during its three years of operation.

The Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) entered into force on December 12, 2014. In a statement marking the third anniversary, Ciobo said: "The landmark agreement has strengthened our trade and investment relationship with the Republic of Korea and put our exporters in pole position to capitalize on a growing market that wants Australian goods and services."

Ciobo said that from January to September 2017, key agricultural products, such as sheep meat and cheese, saw year-on-year growth of 95.2 percent and 49.6 percent, respectively. In addition, sales of beauty and skincare products rose by more than 116 percent over the same period. Exports of bottled wine exports for the first nine months of 2017 were up 52 percent on the same nine months in 2014, prior to KAFTA's entry into force.

"This continues the trend we have seen since KAFTA's entry into force," Ciobo said.

Upon KAFTA's entry into force, 83 percent of Australia's exports became tariff-free in Korea. Further cuts followed in January 2015, and a third round of KAFTA tariff cuts will enter into force on January 1, 2018. By the time KAFTA is fully implemented, 99.7 percent of Australian exports will enter Korea tariff-free.

Ciobo also said that "increased trade from KAFTA is leading to more investment." In 2016, the total stock of Korean investment in Australia increased to AUD23.6bn (USD17.8bn).

TAGS: investment | free trade agreement (FTA) | tariffs | trade treaty | Australia | agreements | Korea, South | import duty | trade | services

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