KAFTA is a global, world-class agreement that significantly liberalizes Australia`s trade with Korea, our fourth largest trading partner. The agreement helps create a level playing field for Australian exporters that compete with those of the United States, the EU, Chile and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that benefit from existing trade agreements with Korea. The Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (also known as KAFTA) is a bilateral agreement to reduce trade and investment barriers between Australia and South Korea. The agreement was reached and came into force in 2014. Australia and South Korea have a strong and complementary trade relationship. Services account for about 80% of the Australian economy, but account for only 7% of the total value of two-way trade with Korea. When KAFTA came into force in December 2014, 84% of Australia`s merchandise exports (in value terms) entered the country duty-free. Full implementation eliminates tariffs on 99.8% of Australian exports (in value terms) to Korea. The full text of the agreement as well as useful information on FTAs and fact sheets are available on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) For any specific questions regarding the agreement, the E-Mail-KoreaFTA@dfat.gov.au or the DFAT phone on 02 6261 1111.
Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb and Korean Trade Minister Yoon Sang-jick concluded negotiations on the agreement in early December 2013 and the text of the agreement, which was legally reviewed, was signed by chief negotiators on February 10, 2014.  In April 2014, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott led a trade delegation to Japan, South Korea and China. The three economies accounted for more than half of Australia`s two-way trade.  During the South Korean leg of the mission, Abbott signed the Australia-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) with the government of Park Geun-hye on April 8 in Seoul.  The agreement came into force on December 12, 2014.  According to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia and Korea have “one of the strongest and most complementary trade relations in the Asia-Pacific region. The Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) reduces trade and investment barriers and allows Australians to do business with Korea, our fourth largest trading partner.  KAFTA has significantly improved the two-way reduction in tariffs on goods between Australia and Korea. By 2033, 99.7% of Australia`s exports will be tariff-free and by 2021, 100% of Korean exports will be duty-free.
In order to help certain market segments adapt to this new regulatory framework, certain tariffs will be phased out, including for certain vehicles and parts, steel, chemicals, plastics and textiles, as well as clothing and footwear. Austrade can help Australian companies become familiar with local market conditions and help develop export opportunities through a number of market and Australian services. Australia and Korea are natural economic, political and strategic partners, with common values and interests. Korea is Australia`s third largest export market and its fourth largest trading partner, with a total of more than $30 billion in 2012-13. Korea is Asia`s fourth largest economy with 50 million people. Before entering the Korean commercial market, there are a number of factors to consider, including culture, politics and business etiquette. For more information on the likely benefits of the agreement, see the information sheet on the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement, August 26, 2016 [pdf, 0.5 MB]. KAFTA will strengthen and strengthen opportunities for Australian companies doing business with Korea and help them compete in other Asian markets.