Second meeting of the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement Joint Committee
The second meeting of the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) Joint Committee was convened in Lima, Peru on 17 November 2016 in the margins of the APEC Ministerial Meeting. The meeting was co-chaired by the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment of Australia, Steven Ciobo and the Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy of the Republic of Korea (ROK), Hyunghwan Joo.
- The second meeting of the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) Joint Committee was convened in Lima, Peru in the margins of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Ministerial Meeting on 17 November. The meeting was co-chaired by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy of the Republic of Korea (ROK), Hyunghwan Joo, and the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment of Australia, Steven Ciobo.
- The Co-Chairs welcomed the smooth implementation of KAFTA over its first two years. They highlighted the growth in the two-way goods and services trade, in particular in key products, such as Korean passenger and goods vehicles and Australian agricultural products, and resolved to continue encouraging Australian and Korean businesses to maximise opportunities under the Agreement.
- The Joint Committee noted that officials in both countries worked closely together to support KAFTA's full and effective implementation. As requested, the Committees on Trade in Goods, Financial Services, Outward Processing Zones (OPZ) on the Korean Peninsula and Energy and Mineral Resources Cooperation, as well as the Working Group on Professional Services had each convened since the last meeting. The Co-chairs welcomed the incorporation of the Committee on Energy and Mineral Cooperation into the existing high level discussions through the Joint Committee on Energy and Mineral Resources Consultation and Cooperation.
- The Co-chairs underscored the value they attach to the WTO's work in ensuring the transparent implementation of regional trade agreements, and welcomed the positive consideration of KAFTA by the WTO Committee on Regional Trade Agreements on 27 June 2016.
- Both sides welcomed the start of data exchange arrangements on goods to better understand KAFTA's utilisation and confirmed an annual exchange of data on preference uptake. The Joint Committee tasked officials with further detailed arrangements for data exchange. They also welcomed ongoing work by officials to update the HS 2017 transposition tariff and rules of origin schedule.
- Both sides noted the importance of mutual efforts, through the Working Group on Professional Services, to encourage the relevant professional services bodies on both sides to develop mutually acceptable standards and criteria for licensing and certification, and to develop procedures for the temporary licensing arrangements of professional service suppliers. The Joint Committee encouraged officials to continue consultations between relevant bodies of both sides in advance of the next Working Group in 2017.
- The Joint Committee noted the work by the Committee on Trade in Goods on non-tariff measures (NTMs). They reaffirmed their interest in technical experts engaging in early discussions on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) and technical barriers to trade (TBT) NTMs in advance of the next Committee on Trade in Goods, to be held in 2017.
- Both sides noted that, as instructed by the Joint Committee last year, consultations between officials had started on the possible 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 Australia's continued interest in the ROK's Foreign Legal Consultants Act, which implemented the ROK's Phase Three legal services liberalisation obligations under various FTAs, including KAFTA, and Australia's ongoing interest in facilitating access to the Korean legal services market. In this context, the Joint Committee reaffirmed the ROK and Australia's ongoing commitment to seek to reduce or eliminate the barriers to trade and investment between them, as set out in the preamble of KAFTA.
- In view of the smooth implementation of the KAFTA to date, the Joint Committee agreed to maintain its pragmatic approach to managing the committees and working groups established under the Agreement. Both sides reaffirmed a commitment to transparency on the implementation of KAFTA and agreed to continue to consult with businesses in advance of the KAFTA committee meetings and to report outcomes.
- Both sides shared their concerns over the slow growth in trade and investment globally and committed to enhance an open world economy by working towards trade and investment facilitation and liberalisation. The Co-Chairs discussed recent trade policy developments and welcomed the close cooperation between both countries in relevant international forums, including the WTO, APEC and the G20. They underscored the benefits of continuing to work together to conclude negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and shared perspectives on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement and ways to adapt to new challenges for global trade, such as Brexit.
- The Co-Chairs discussed economic cooperation to improve the business environment and had a constructive exchange of views on trade remedies.
- The next Joint Committee meeting will be held in 2017 on a date yet to be determined.
Attachment: Work Program of KAFTA Committees and Working Groups
Acknowledging that Article 21.4.1 provides that the committees and working groups listed in paragraph 1 and 3 of Annex 21-A, which are the Committee on Trade in Goods, the Committee on Outward Processing Zones on the Korean Peninsula, the Committee on Rules of Origin and Trade Facilitation, the Committee on Financial Services, the Committee on Telecommunications, the Committee on Intellectual Property, the Committee on Agricultural Cooperation, the Committee on Energy and Mineral Resources Cooperation, and the Working Group on Professional Services, are established under the auspices of the Joint Committee, the Parties to the Korea-Australia FTA (KAFTA) agree to the Work Program of the KAFTA Committees and Working Groups as follows:
- The following committees and working groups are to convene in 2017:
- The Committee on Trade in Goods
- The Committee on Agricultural Cooperation
- The Committee on Energy and Mineral Resources Cooperation
- The Committee on Financial Services
- The Committee on Rules of Origin and Trade Facilitation
- The Working Group on Professional Services
- Officials of the Parties will closely cooperate to resolve any matters that arise under KAFTA by using the contact information that has already been exchanged between the Parties, and other committees and working groups will meet on request of a Party, if required.