S. Korea – New Zealand strike free trade deal

November 14, 2014
South Korean President Park Geun-hye and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key made the announcement in a joint news conference in Brisbane on the sidelines of a summit of the Group of 20 advanced and emerging economies. (Yonhap)

South Korean President Park Geun-hye and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key made the announcement in a joint news conference in Brisbane on the sidelines of a summit of the Group of 20 advanced and emerging economies. (Yonhap)

By Kim Kwang-tae

BRISBANE, Australia (Yonhap) — The leaders of South Korea and New Zealand said Saturday that their countries have struck a free trade agreement that will help boost trade between the two countries.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key made the announcement in a joint news conference in Brisbane on the sidelines of a summit of the Group of 20 advanced and emerging economies.

The agreement came more than five years after the two countries launched negotiations.

The two sides agreed to remove tariffs on more than 96 percent of all products traded between them within 20 years of the deal taking effect.

The two sides plan to hold a legal review before formally signing a deal on the free trade agreement early next year, according to South Korea. The deal is subject to parliamentary ratification in both capitals before taking effect.

New Zealand agreed to immediately remove tariffs on South Korean washing machines and tires, and eliminate tariffs on auto parts, heavy construction equipment and refrigerators within three years of the deal coming into force.

The two sides agreed to exclude rice, a key staple food for Koreans, and other sensitive agricultural produce, including apples, garlic and chili peppers, from the deal.

South Korea is New Zealand’s 41st-largest trading partner and New Zealand is South Korea’s 44th-largest trading partner. Bilateral trade between the countries totaled US$2.8 billion last year.