“The conclusion of negotiations on a bilateral Free Trade Agreement with South Korea is a shot in the arm for regional Australia, agri-business, the resources and services sectors and other parts of the economy,” said Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott.
As the world’s 14th largest economy and with a population of 50 million people, South Korea is a large, complementary market for Australian exporters.
“The government, and Trade Minister Andrew Robb in particular, have taken a pragmatic approach to the negotiations in order to push through longstanding barriers and lock in market access gains for Australian goods, services and investment into South Korea.
“The former government showed vision in starting trade talks with South Korea in 2009, and advancing the negotiations towards the endgame. This bipartisan approach to promoting trade policy in Australia has served us well for many years.
“As the BCA outlined in its Action Plan for Enduring Prosperity released earlier this year, Australia’s continuing prosperity relies on engaging effectively with other countries in the region. With one in five Australian jobs related to trade, our trading performance can make a major contribution to increasing living standards in Australia.
“The action plan called on the government to intensify efforts to conclude free trade agreement negotiations with Korea and other Asian partners, and to take a pragmatic approach to negotiations based on reciprocity and focused on those sectors where Australia has comparative strengths.
“We welcome the pragmatism shown in the negotiations with South Korea, and encourage the government to apply the same focus and pragmatism to concluding the long-running negotiations with Japan and China.
“This agreement is an important down payment by the Abbott Government on meeting its commitment to strengthening Australia’s trading relationship with key Asian partners, and elevating economic diplomacy to a core objective of Australia’s international policy.
“By continuing with this focus, we can expect more Australian jobs and higher wages.”
For further information contact:
Scott Thompson, Director, Media and Public Affairs
Business Council of Australia
Telephone (03) 8664 2603 | Mobile 0403 241 128