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.
The following procedure will now be followed to enable KAFTA to become operational (or to enter into force) in accordance with normal treaty procedures:
- The Australian Parliament will consider the legislative bills. A number of Regulations will also require amendment for entry into force.
- The Senate Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade References Committee is conducting an inquiry into KAFTA and will report within one month of the tabling of the JSCOT report.
- 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.