Free Trade Deal with Korea – a pretty damned good deal

Trade Minister Tim Groser will today seal a free trade deal with South Korea that will essentially steer New Zealand towards a level playing field with its competitors in the fast-growing market. It is sometimes called the “catch-up trade deal” although it will take 10 to 15 years for many products to become tariff-free.

The deal will be signed at a formal meeting between Prime Minister John Key and South Korea’s President Park Geung-hye about 3 this afternoon (NZ time).

Groser is leading a business delegation from New Zealand of 36 exporters or organisations. He said New Zealand had worked out 20 years ago what was called “the first cab off the rank” strategy. The aim was get ahead of everybody else it and it worked with China, with Asean (in conjunction with Australia), with Taiwan and with Russia until the Crimea crisis put paid to a virtually concluded deal.

To read the full article in the NZ Herald click here.

Groser said it had been a long and difficult negotiation but in the end – “actually it’s a pretty damned good deal”.

Some of the examples are:

• 15 per cent tariff off wine immediately that it enters into force

• 45 per cent off kiwifruit over six years

• 89 per cent off butter over 10 years

• 36 per cent off cheese over 12 years

• 10 per cent off wood products within 10 years

• 20 per cent off salmon in four years

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