Transcript: The Korean market and the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement

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Brett Cooper: Korea is already Australia’s third largest export market and our fourth largest trading partner overall.

It’s also a market which is very sophisticated. The consumers in Korea have a per capita average GDP of around US$20,000 and it’s also a country which is ageing very quickly. But because the Korean consumers already have access to a very broad range of global products and services, Australian exporters need to be very aware of the strong competitive dynamic in the market and in many cases play a very niche or targeted strategy to maximise export value.

Agriculture is a very clear winner under KAFTA. On entry into force of the agreement tariffs on wheat, sugar, for example, and wine will be eliminated immediately and this will put Australian exporters of those products back into a very strong competitive position relative to our competitors.

Other sectors in agriculture will also benefit. Beef, for example, will have its current tariff of around 40% phased out over 15 years, and dairy will also benefit from a number of tariff free quotas which will be introduced across a range of products.

A range of Australian service providers will benefit from KAFTA, including law firms, accounting firms, and also financial services firms. Currently Australian law firms are unable to establish a representative office in Korea, unlike for example their American counterparts. However, KAFTA will allow that to happen. Similarly, accounting firms from Australia will also be allowed to establish offices in Korea, and financial services firms will be able to provide cross-border services on specified products.

Korea will be hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics in eastern Korea and this will open up a range of opportunities for major sports events suppliers.

We have a very experienced team in Korea and we cover all sectors that Australia currently deals with, from resources through to financial services. So I’d encourage everyone to look at the website, find out the information that’s relevant to your particular sector and reach out to us in Seoul.