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Korea, Australia conclude FTA negotiations

Updated: 2013-12-05 PM 12:35:23 (KST)
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Korea has reached a free trade agreement with Australia in principle, concluding negotiations on all previously contentious issues.
For more on the trade pact, we now connect live by phone to our Hwang Ji-hye at the nation's trade ministry.
Ji-hye, give us the details.

Hello, Conn-young.
The virtual agreement on the free trade deal between Korea and Australia comes after a trade ministers' meeting held yesterday in Bali, Indonesia.
There, Korea's Trade Minister Yoon Sang-jick and his Australian counterpart, Andrew Robb, confirmed that talks on the free trade agreement have been concluded in principle, wrapping up the FTA negotiations that were launched in 2009.
As you mentioned earlier, Conn-young, the two nations have concluded negotiations on all issues, including writing the investor-state dispute, or ISD, settlement system into the trade pact.
The FTA talks had been stalled since 2010, amid Australia's opposition to including the ISD settlement system in the proposed agreement.
The two countries aim to cut tariffs on most of the products traded within 8 years after the trade deal goes into effect.

What are some of the Korean products that will see immediate tariff cuts?

Tariffs on Korean automobiles and electronics that currently have an average tariff of 5 percent will be cut immediately.
Tariffs for auto parts, meanwhile, will be cut within 3 years.
Korea's agriculture sector, however, will take a hit from the trade pact, as the tariffs on Australian agricultural exports such as wheat, dairy and beef will be eliminated.
Korea's trade ministry said that it tried to minimize the trade deal's impact on local farmers by agreeing to cut tariffs on Australian beef gradually over 15 years.
Australia is Korea's seventh-largest trading partner, while Korea is Australia's fourth-largest trading partner.

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