Fourth Meeting of the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement Joint Committee
Summary of outcomes
- The fourth meeting of the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) Joint Committee took place virtually on 9 December 2020. The meeting was co-chaired by Ms Elisabeth Bowes, First Assistant Secretary, Regional Trade Agreements Division, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia and Mr Kyungsik Lee, Director General for FTA Negotiations, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy of the Republic of Korea (ROK).
- The Co-Chairs discussed the role of business-led growth in driving the global economy out of the COVID-19 pandemic recession and welcomed the continued smooth implementation of KAFTA since its entry into force on 12 December 2014.
- The Joint Committee welcomed the increased two-way KAFTA preference utilisation rate of over 96 per cent for trade in goods in 2019 and highlighted the value of data sharing in support of trade advocacy. The Co-Chairs noted the continuing benefits of encouraging Australian and Korean businesses to maximise opportunities under the Agreement.
- The Joint Committee noted the collaborative work of both countries to support KAFTA's effective implementation, despite the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Joint Committee agreed to maintain a pragmatic approach to managing the committees and working groups established under the Agreement during these unprecedented times.
- The Co-Chairs reviewed the progress of the work program agreed at the third meeting of the Joint Committee in February 2019 and noted the report of the Committee on Energy and Mineral Resources Cooperation which convened in Canberra in November 2019 and brought together 60 delegates from Australian and Korean Government agencies and industry bodies.
- The Australian and Korean Co-Chairs reviewed the progress of the HS Transposition work and agreed to ensure its completion as soon as possible.
- The Joint Committee discussed Australia’s request for flexible implementation of the beef safeguard measure by Korea to promote agricultural trade under KAFTA.
- The Co-Chairs noted the update provided by the Korean delegation on the implementation of the ROK’s Phase Three legal services liberalisation under KAFTA and Australia welcomed the resulting improved access to Korean legal services market.
- Both Parties welcomed further consultations between officials on the application of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Transparency Rules to arbitrations initiated under Section B of Chapter 11 (Investment).
- The Joint Committee noted the updates to Australia's Trusted Trader Program and Korea’s Authorized Economic Operator Program.
- The Australian and Korean Co-Chairs both noted the potential for further efforts through the Working Group on Professional Services to improve the mutual recognition of qualifications and support the mobility of professional service providers.
- The Joint Committee noted that planning is underway to hold the Committee on Agricultural Cooperation, the Committee on Energy and Mineral Resources Cooperation and the Working Group on Professional Services in 2021. Both sides also agreed to hold the Committee on Trade in Goods, as well as ensure progress in the HS transposition work, in 2021.
- The fifth Joint Committee meeting will be held on a date to be mutually determined.
The KAFTA utilisation rate published by the Korea Customs Service (of over 82.8 per cent) does not include post-importation preference claims under KAFTA.