* Source: Media Release from the Minister for Agriculture and Food Security
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh today welcomed the conclusion of negotiations on the Australia-Korea Free Trade Agreement, and the opportunities this presents for Victorian food and fibre exporters.
“Victoria has a strong and growing relationship with the Republic of Korea and this agreement paves the way for deeper engagement with one of our most important trading partners in the region,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Republic of Korea is already Victoria’s tenth largest food and fibre export market, receiving produce valued at $263 million in 2012-13. This included $68 million of dairy, $41 million of beef and $46 million of grain.
“Victoria’s significant exports were despite fierce competition from other exporting countries that have already secured lucrative trade agreements, such as the United States and the European Union.”
It is expected Australia’s agricultural exports to the Republic of Korea will be 73 per cent higher after 15 years as a result of the FTA, Mr Walsh said.
“With tariffs of up to 180 per cent to be eliminated on exports including dairy, beef, wheat, wine and horticulture, this agreement will place Victorian food and fibre producers on a more equal footing and will help lift exports to Korea,” Mr Walsh said.
“Growth in Victorian food and fibre exports in turn delivers flow-on benefits to regional Victoria where the majority of food and fibre jobs are located.”
Mr Walsh said the Victorian Coalition Government had led three trade missions to the Republic of Korea since 2010 and would continue to work closely with food and fibre producers and exporters to capitalise on the new preferential trade arrangements.
“Victoria’s ongoing trade mission program takes growers, packers and exporters to new market opportunities, and also brings key importers to Victoria to meet with suppliers and broker new deals,” Mr Walsh said.
“Importers and retailers from the Republic of Korea will be attending the Victorian Food and Beverage Trade Week in March, and the Victoria Government will be coordinating a stand at the Seoul Food trade show in Seoul next May where Victorian produce will be showcased.”