The Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) was signed by Trade and Investment Minister, Mr Andrew Robb and his South Korean counterpart the Minister for Trade, Industry and Energy, Mr Yoon Sang-jick in Seoul on 8 April 2014.
Minister Robb tabled the text of the Agreement along with a National Interest Analysis in the Australian Parliament on 13 May 2014.
The text of KAFTA and the National Interest Analysis was tabled in the Australian Parliament for 20 joint sitting days and was considered by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT). On 4 September 2014, the Chair of JSCOT tabled Report 142 of its inquiry into KAFTA in Parliament. The report supported KAFTA and recommended the Government take binding treaty action.
Following tabling of the report, the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Scott Morrison MP introduced customs implementing legislation into Parliament.
Two other Parliamentary committees have also reviewed KAFTA and its implementing legislation. Both recommended binding treaty action be taken. The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee’s tabled its report on 24 September 2014. The Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee tabled its report on 1 October 2014.
The implementing legislation was passed by the Australian Parliament on 1 October 2014.
The following procedure will now be followed to enable KAFTA to become operational (or to enter into force) in accordance with normal treaty procedures:
- Amendments to customs, life insurance and foreign investment regulations will shortly be submitted to Federal Executive Council for approval.
The Korean Government is undertaking its own domestic treaty-making processes, including seeking approval by Korea’s National Assembly.
Australia and Korea are aiming to complete their domestic treaty processes, including passage of necessary legislation, towards the end of 2014. After these processes are complete, both countries will exchange diplomatic notes to certify they are ready for entry into force of the Agreement.
30 days after this exchange or on a date otherwise agreed, KAFTA will enter into force.