It is expected that the recently negotiated Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) will see 98 per cent of Australia’s agricultural exports to Korea subject to a total tariff reduction, with horticulture in particular a prime victor.
While negotiations of the KAFTA were concluded in December 2013, it was only yesterday that the final text of the agreement became available.
“Big winners in the KAFTA are potatoes which will experience an immediate reduction in tariffs from 304 per cent to only 27 per cent,” said AUSVEG spokesperson, Simon Coburn.
AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.
“During the Australian export season, this tariff will be eliminated for potatoes entirely,” said Mr Coburn.
Potatoes can also expect an annual reduction in the tariff rate over the next fifteen years. The dramatic reduction in these tariffs provides the opportunity for potato growers to fully utilise Australia’s counter seasonality advantage to its full potential.
“Other winners in this agreement include asparagus, which will see a base tariff rate of 27 per cent being reduced to zero over the next three years.”
“Carrots will also receive a boost with tariffs being lowered to only 30 per cent and being reduced annually until removed over the next five years,” said Mr Coburn.
The ailing beetroot industry will receive a boost when the KAFTA takes effect, with tariffs on beetroot exported to Korea being reduced annually.
The new agreement has opened new opportunities for market access for several horticultural commodities, such as fruit. The successful conclusion of these negotiations with Korea will help to pave the way for further negotiations regarding market access for more horticultural commodities.
Final sign off on the agreement is planned to take place during the first half of 2014, and after final adjustments are made, it is expected that the FTA will enter into force towards the end of 2014.
MEDIA CONTACT: Simon Coburn, Spokesperson, AUSVEG.
Phone: (03) 9882 0277 Mobile: 0404 845 580 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org