Update #2- Second Negotiating Round - 17 September 2009
The second round of FTA negotiations between Australia and Korea was held in Seoul from 31 August - 4 September 2009.
The Korean delegation, of about 90 officials in total, was led by newly-appointed chief FTA negotiator, Director General Lee Taeho, from the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT). Jan Adams, Head, Korea FTA Task Force, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) led an Australian delegation of about 30 officials from a number of Australian Government agencies.
Overall, discussions continued in the positive vein set at the first round in May. Each side was well-prepared, engaged and constructive.
In the lead-up to the second round, the two sides exchanged initial goods market access offers (i.e. lists of possible tariff concessions). At the round, each side highlighted those areas where it wanted the other side to improve its offer. Following these opening discussions, both sides have undertaken to exchange formal lists of goods market access requests before the third round.
The two sides continued with constructive exchanges on goods-related chapters. These include chapters on Trade in Goods, Technical Barriers to Trade, Rules of Origin and Customs Procedures. Differences continue to be narrowed, but further discussion will be required on remaining key areas of divergence. The two sides also further discussed Korea’s proposals for enhanced cooperation in the agricultural and resources (energy and minerals) sectors.
Productive exchanges also were held on various services and investment topics, including Cross-Border Trade in Services, Investment, Financial Services, Telecommunications and Movement of Natural Persons. While solid progress is being made in most of these areas, further discussions will be required in subsequent rounds on key issues including coverage and scope of the chapters, and particular proposals from each side. The two sides have agreed that we will aim to exchange initial services and investment market access offers before the third round of negotiations.
Elsewhere, the two sides also had useful exchanges on topics including intellectual property rights, competition policy, government procurement and legal and institutional issues.
Looking ahead, the third round of negotiations will be held in Canberra from 30 November to 4 December.
We welcome input on issues of relevance to the Australia-Korea FTA negotiations. For further information, please email email@example.com.