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Thursday, 5 December 2013
Page: 1788

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:00): I am pleased to inform the House that the Minister for Trade and Investment has successfully concluded negotiations for a free trade agreement between Australia and the Republic of Korea. The Republic of Korea is Australia's third largest export market. Under this agreement, tariffs will be eliminated on Australia's major exports to Korea, and there will be significant new market openings in services and investment. Tariffs will be eliminated on items such as beef, wheat, dairy, sugar, wine, seafood, grapes, cherries and mangoes. Beef tariffs, I am pleased to say, will be completely phased out over 15 years, which will restore Australia's competitive position in this key market. Australian automotive suppliers will benefit from the immediate removal of tariffs, as will the wine industry. The free trade agreement will provide new market opportunities for Australian services in education, telecommunications, financial accounting and the law.

The concluded negotiations will now go to cabinet for final consideration and to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties for consideration. Conclusion of this free trade agreement will see the delivery of a key election commitment. Conclusion of this agreement will be good news for our exporters, good news for our farmers, good news for jobs, good news for growth and good news for Australia. I do acknowledge that the negotiations for this free trade agreement were commenced in 2009 under the former government. I congratulate the Minister for Trade and Investment for bringing them to what looks very much like a successful conclusion.