Korea's trade ministry expects the free trade agreement between Seoul and Canberra to bring about 1.6 billion U.S. dollars worth of benefits to consumers within the ten-year period after the pact is ratified.
Korea's Chief FTA Negotiator Woo Tae-hee says Korea's small- and mid-sized businesses especially will reap the benefits.
"Australia has very high trade volumes with Asian countries. Therefore, competition among Asian nations is fierce within the Australian market. This FTA will help our SMEs gain a competitive edge in the exports market to Canberra."
Australia has agreed to remove tariffs on 99.5 percent of their items within five years of the deal's ratification.
The Korean government evaluates this as one of its most ideal and complementary free trade pacts.
Its reasoning is that Korean manufacturing goods -- automobiles and petroleum products for example, will see a boost in exports while Australian mineral resources, including crude oil, will benefit from tariff removals.
But those opposing the deal remain concerned about its effect on Korea's agricultural industry as tariffs, currently ranging from 18 to 72 percent, on meat products will be eliminated ten to 15 years down the road.
"Along with the recently agreed FTA with Canada, the trade ministry says it plans to continue closely working with agricultural professionals to come up with more comprehensive measures that will minimize any negative impact this deal could have on the nation's domestic sector.
Laah Hyun-kyung, Arirang News, Sejong."
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