While the left wing were marching in the streets opposing the TPPA another free trade deal has snuck under their radar.
New Zealand and South Korea have concluded a free-trade agreement that’s expected to cut $230 million of export tariffs in New Zealand’s sixth-largest export market, including $65 million in the first year.
The deal, which was announced on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Brisbane, will initially eliminate tariffs on 48 percent of current New Zealand exports, with duties largely eliminated within 15 years. Two-way trade between the countries is worth about $4 billion.
South Korea has said it also aims to conclude FTAs with China and Vietnam before the end of the year, after agreeing recent deals with Australia and Canada. New Zealand is actively seeking such agreements after trade with China soared since an FTA was inked in 2008. The Korean FTA marks Prime Minister John Key’s first bilateral deal since being elected leader.
The Korean talks, begun in 2009, have previously stalled amid Korean concern about the impact of New Zealand agricultural exports on domestic producers.
“It has been a long, hard agreement to reach,” Key told reporters in Brisbane. “It’s a high quality deal. It was always going to be a tough negotiation but we have got ourselves now back into a level playing field with those countries that compete heavily in the Korean market and I think a lot of New Zealand industry will be happy about the outcome.”
Tariffs slated for elimination include a 45 percent rate on kiwifruit, 22.5 percent charged on sheep meat, a 40 percent levy on beef and an 89 percent tariff on butter.