“Australia is Open for Business”
Foreign Minister says Australia-Korea FTA can be completed in months…
Only four weeks after being sworn-in as Australia’s new Foreign Minister, the Hon. Julie Bishop, spoke to a forum of more than 70 members of the Australia-Korea business and diplomatic community at the Hyatt Hotel.
Ms. Bishop was in Korea for a meeting with Korea’s Foreign Minister, Mr. Yun Byung-Se, and also delivered a speech to students at Sungkyungkwan University.
The Foreign Minister gave the business community the clearest indication yet that the Australian government was preparing to re-engage with its Korean counterparts to re-start and conclude the Australia-Korea Free Trade Agreement.
“It’s now the Abbott Government’s aim to establish a whole network of bilateral and regional free trade agreements. The Abbott government is keen to reinvigorate negotiations to conclude this (the Korea-Australia) bilateral agreement. Indeed it is a priority in our trade policy to conclude an Australia-Korea FTA”, said Ms. Bishop.
“Its absence is holding back our businesses.We are both (Australia and Korea) losing market share”.
While acknowledging that there were sensitive issues to be concluded, the Foreign Minister noted that “Australia will consider how we negotiate the investor-state dispute settlement clauses. Our very pragmatic view is that they should be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.”
Ms. Bishop also pointed out that many sectors would stand to benefit from a free trade agreement including financial and legal services, the education sector and telecommunications.
“There are many complementarities we can build upon between Korea and Australia.” said the Foreign Minister.
Ms. Bishop was warmly welcomed by AustCham Korea’s Vice Chair, Diana Underwood, who later said, “AustCham is very pleased to hear the positive comments delivered by the Foreign Minister today. AustCham has been working hard to encourage both governments to get back to the negotiating table and we are hopeful that this will happen soon.” (see link for full text of Vice Chair’s speech)
AustCham Korea has been working closely with the Australia-Korea business community, industry groups from both countries, the Australian Embassy in Korea and government representatives to re-start negotiations and conclude the Australia-Korea FTA, including the recent forwarding of a letter from AustCham’s FTA Advisory Committee to the new Minister for Trade and Investment, Mr. Andrew Robb.
Information, fact sheets and articles on the Australia-Korea FTA are available on AustCham Korea’s website.
AustCham’s FTA Advisory Committee is actively engaged in raising the profile of the Korea-Australia FTA and encouraging both governments to re-start negotiations and conclude the agreement.
If you are interested in joining the FTA Advisory Committee or learning more about the Australia-Korea FTA, please contact Jieseon Kim, Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org ) for more information.