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Tim Groser

3 December, 2013

Minister welcomes resumption of trade negotiations with Korea

Trade Minister Tim Groser welcomed Korea’s decision to resume formal negotiations toward a free trade agreement, following a meeting today in Bali with his Korean counterpart, Minister of Trade Yoon Sang-jick.

“The resumption of negotiations was discussed by Prime Minister John Key and Korean President Park Geun-hye during the Prime Minister’s recent visit to Korea in July. I am pleased that their shared determination to conclude a free trade agreement has led to this point,” Mr Groser says.

“This is an important step. Korea is one of New Zealand’s biggest and most important trading partners.”

In the year ending June 2013, total trade between New Zealand and Korea was $3.5b.

“The lack of a formal free trade agreement has been putting New Zealand at a disadvantage in the Korean market. For example, our beef and kiwifruit exporters face tariffs of 40 percent and 45 percent respectively, while some of our competitors are now entering the market tariff free or enjoying substantial preferences under their already concluded agreements with Korea. We are aiming in our negotiations to correct that imbalance.

FTA negotiations are a key part of the government’s Business Growth Agenda. Helping our exporters means jobs for New Zealanders.”

Negotiations are scheduled to resume in February 2014.