Third Meeting of the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement Joint Committee
Summary of Outcomes
The third meeting of the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) Joint Committee was convened in Seoul, Republic of Korea, on 15 February 2019. The meeting was co-chaired by Mr. Kijune Kim, Director General for FTA Negotiation from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, and Mr. Todd Mercer, Assistant Secretary from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The Co-Chairs discussed the outcomes of KAFTA since its entry into force in December 2014, highlighted KAFTA's contribution to increasing economic integration, and welcomed growth in two-way goods and services trade. The parties noted the continuing benefits of encouraging Australian and Korean businesses to maximise opportunities under the Agreement.
The Joint Committee noted the collaborative work of officials in both countries to support KAFTA's effective implementation. The Co-Chairs reviewed progress against the work plan agreed at the previous meeting, and noted the reports of the Committees on Financial Services, Trade in Goods, and Rules of Origin and Trade Facilitation, as well as the Working Group on Professional Services, each of which had convened since the last KAFTA Joint Committee.
The Joint Committee welcomed the increased two-way KAFTA preference utilisation rate of over 92 per cent for trade in goods in 2017. It acknowledged the important work by officials towards the effective annual exchange of data on trade flows under KAFTA, and highlighted the value of the data in supporting trade advocacy.
Recent developments in Australia to help enhance efforts to address non-tariff measures (NTMs) were discussed. The Australian delegation provided information on the implementation of Australia's Trusted Trader Program and Temporary Skills Shortage Visas (Sub-class 482).
The Joint Committee noted Australia's continued interest in flexible implementation by Korea of the beef safeguard measure under KAFTA, and Korea's interest in Australia's implementation of anti-dumping measures.
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. Continued consultations in this area were encouraged.
The Joint Committee noted Australia's continued interest in the ROK's Foreign Legal Consultants Act, promoting the implementation of the ROK's Phase Three legal services liberalisation obligations under KAFTA, and facilitating improved access to the 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 highlighted the smooth implementation of KAFTA to date, and agreed that the Joint Committee maintain a pragmatic approach to managing the committees and working groups established under the Agreement.
The Joint Committee agreed to make every effort to hold the Committee on Agricultural Cooperation in 2019. The Joint Committee also encouraged the Committee on Energy and Mineral Resources Cooperation and the Working Group on Professional Services to make every effort to meet in 2019.
The next Joint Committee meeting will be held on a date to be mutually determined.