Australia-Republic of Korea Free Trade Agreement negotiations

Republic of Korea market snapshot

  • GDP: US$1.22 trillion (2013)
  • GDP per capita: US$24,329 (2013)
  • GDP growth: 2.8 per cent (2013)
  • Population: 50.2 million (2013)
  • Trade with Australia: AU$32.1 billion (2013)

About the Korea-Australia FTA

Minister Robb and his Korean counterpart, Trade Minister Yoon, concluded negotiations on the Australia-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) in early December 2013. The legally verified text of the agreement was initialed by Chief Negotiators on 10 February 2014 and released to the public on 17 February 2014. The Agreement was signed on 8 April 2014 during a ceremony in Seoul, South Korea.

KAFTA will enter into force after the completion of domestic processes by Australia and Korea. Both countries are making good progress toward this goal. Implementing legislation was passed by the Australian Parliament on 1 October 2014. In Korea, the Agreement has been submitted to the Korean National Assembly for approval.

Australia and Korea have one of the strongest and most complementary trading relationships in the Asia-Pacific region and KAFTA will result in excellent outcomes for Australia.

Map of Korea - quick facts

Map of Korea

Seoul

The Seoul National Capital Area has 24.5 million inhabitants, making it one of the world’s largest metropolitan markets.

Incheon

Consistently ranked as one of the world's best airports; Incheon International Airport is a major regional hub.

Busan

Renowned as one of the world's largest ports; it can handle up to 13.2 million shipping containers per year.

News

Business Opportunities and KAFTA

The 'Korea: Business Opportunities and the FTA' seminar series will be held from 11–21 November in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Darwin and Adelaide.

The seminars will explore how the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) will open up new opportunities for business in Australia's third largest export market. The series is jointly organised by Austrade and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in partnership with state and territory governments and the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic).

Find out more and register: Korea: Business Opportunities and the FTA.

October 2014

Parliament passes implementing legislation

Following passage of amendments to the Customs Act 1901 and the Customs Tariff Act 1995 by the Australian Parliament on 1 October, amendments to several regulations will shortly be submitted to Federal Executive Council (Exco) for approval. Once these processes have been completed, Australia will be ready to exchange notes with Korea to bring KAFTA into force.

September 2014

Joint Standing Committee on Treaties completes review and implementing legislation introduced to Parliament

The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) tabled the report of its inquiry into the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) in Parliament on 4 September 2014. JSCOT report 142 recommended that binding treaty action be taken.

The Government subsequently introduced legislation needed to implement the Agreement into Parliament on 4 September 2014. The Customs Amendment (Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement Implementation) Bill 2014 and the Customs Tariff Amendment (Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement Implementation) Bill 2014 and their explanatory memoranda were introduced into the House of Representatives by the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Scott Morrison MP.

Media release: Further milestones on implementation of the Korea-Australia FTA

May 2014

Tabling of the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement in the Australian Parliament

Minister Robb tabled the text of the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement with the National Interest Analysis in the Australian Parliament on 13 May 2014. The Agreement will now be considered by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT). More information about JSCOT and details on how to make a submission.

The Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee is also conducting an inquiry into KAFTA and is receiving submissions. Further details on the inquiry into KAFTA.

April 2014

Signature of the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement

The Minister for Trade and Investment Mr Robb and his South Korean counterpart, the Minister for Trade, Industry and Energy Mr Yoon Sang-jick, signed the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement on 8 April 2014. The ceremony was witnessed by Australian Prime Minister Mr Abbott and his South Korean counterpart, President of South Korea Ms Park Geun-hye.

Media release: Korea-Australia FTA signed in Seoul

February 2014

Release of Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement Text

The text of the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) was released by the Trade and Investment Minister on 17 February 2014.

Media release: Public release of Korea-Australia FTA text, 17 February 2014

Korea-Australia FTA Initialled on 10 February 2014

Australian and Korean Chief Negotiators met in Canberra on 10 February to initial the final text of the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA), following the conclusion of negotiations in December 2013. Australia and Korea are now preparing for signature of the Agreement, anticipated to take place in the first half of 2014.

Read the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement Joint Statement

Trade Minister Robb at the formal signing of Korea Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) in Seoul.
Formal signing of Korea Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) in Seoul.
Deputy Secretary Jan Adams and Assistant Minister Taehee Woo initialling the final text of the agreement
Deputy Secretary Jan Adams and her Korean counterpart Assistant Minister, Taehee Woo, initial the final text of the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

December 2013

Conclusion of Negotiations

On 5 December 2013 Prime Minister Abbott announced the conclusion of negotiations on the Australia-Korea FTA. The agreement will see tariffs of up to 300 per cent eliminated on key Australian agricultural exports such as beef, wheat, sugar, dairy, wine, horticulture and seafood, as well as resources, energy and manufactured goods. It will also provide for opportunities in Korea for Australian services in education, telecommunications, and a range of professional services including financial, accounting and legal services.

Official documents

Here you can locate the full text of the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

Table of Contents

The Annexes in chapters 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 20 and 21 are found in the relevant chapters.

Preamble

  1. Initial Provisions and Definitions
  2. Trade in Goods
  3. Rules of Origin and Origin Procedures
  4. Customs Administration and Trade Facilitation
  5. Technical Barriers to Trade and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures
  6. Trade Remedies
  7. Cross-Border Trade in Services
  8. Financial Services
  9. Telecommunications
  10. Movement of Natural Persons
  11. Investment
  12. Government Procurement
  13. Intellectual Property Rights
  14. Competition Policy
  15. Electronic Commerce
  16. Cooperation
  17. Labour
  18. Environment
  19. Transparency
  20. Dispute Resolution
  21. Institutional Provisions
  22. General Provisions and Exceptions
  23. Final Provisions

Non Conforming Measures (Chapters 8, 10 and 11)

Annex I

Explanatory Notes

Schedule of Australia

Schedule of Korea

Annex II

Explanatory Notes

Schedule of Australia

Schedule of Korea

Annex III

Schedule of Australia

Schedule of Korea

Side Letters

Resources

Exchange of Letters on Geographical Indications

Letters between Ms Jan Adams, Chief Negotiator for Australia, and Mr Taehoo Woo, Chief Negotiator for Korea, providing clarifications on geographical indications.

Submissions

The Australia-Korea FTA was concluded in early December 2013. Below are the public submissions received during negotiations

Submissions received

Australia-Republic of Korea FTA Study

In April 2008, a joint non-government study into the feasibility of a free trade agreement between Australia and the Republic of Korea was released. The study, conducted by ITS Global, a Melbourne-based trade consultancy, and the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP), concluded that a free trade agreement between Australia and Korea that liberalised substantially all barriers to trade and investment offered significant opportunities to further strengthen our highly complementary and growing bilateral trade and investment relationship, and deliver gains to both countries through closer economic integration. Economic modelling undertaken for ITS estimated that a comprehensive FTA covering goods and services trade and investment would increase the present value of real GDP of Australia by US$22.7bn and of Korea by US$29.6bn over the period 2007-2020.

Australia-Republic of Korea Joint Non-Government FTA Study [PDF 805 KB]

Contact us

If you would like to know more about the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement, contact:

  • Email: KoreaFTA@dfat.gov.au
  • Phone: (02) 6261 1111
  • Fax: (02) 6261 2187
  • Mail:
    Korea FTA Coordinator
    Free Trade Agreement Division
    Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
    RG Casey Building
    John McEwen Crescent
    Barton ACT 0221