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Free trade with Korea possible following China’s deal

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New Zealand’s Trade Minister Tim Groser has called on submissions on a possible free-trade-agreement (FTA) with the Republic of Korea. This follows the first ever FTA secured with China by the former Labour-led New Zealand Government.

The incumbent National-led Government said that the submissions are now being called as part of a review of the possibility that was undertaken two years ago. A 2007 joint private study involving the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) and the Korean Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP) with results only having been released recently and “indicates that an FTA would offer net economic benefits to both countries.”

Mr Groser said, “Korea is New Zealand’s sixth largest export market, with our total bilateral goods trade worth around NZ$2.5 billion a year. Korea is also an important source of international students and tourists. Entering into an FTA would see the platform laid to develop further this important relationship.”

While New Zealand receives submissions, Korea will conduct domestic consultations. “We are confident that this submission process, and Korea’s own domestic consultations, will demonstrate favourable support for this process and that our two Governments can subsequently move to the formal announcement of negotiations,” Mr Groser said.

South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan visited this weekend as a part of key discussions revolving around this possible agreement. New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully said, “Talks will also focus on how we can strengthen cooperation between New Zealand and South Korea on regional and global security issues, as well as ways to improve bilateral links, particularly in areas such as science and education.”

In September 2007 Korean Minister Yu In-chon signed a film co-production contract with New Zealand.

Written by Gabriel Pollard

25 January, 2009 at 10.06 pm