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Korean trade deal a winner, says Robb


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Trade Minister Andrew Robb says a free trade deal with Korea will be a big boost for Australia’s struggling manufacturing and agricultural sectors, with massive tariff reductions making it much easier to compete.

Robb on Monday is expected to release the full text of the agreement signed late last year. He says the deal will boost agricultural exports to Korea by more than 70 per cent over the next 15 years, and manufacturing exports by up to 30 per cent.

The auto components sector, hit by the loss of Holden and Toyota’s local manufacturing operations, will immediately become more competitive in the Korean market, he said.

A 40 per cent tariff on beef exports will be scrapped under the FTA, while the Korean market would be opened up to other agricultural exports such as sheep meats and wine.

“These sorts of opportunities are just critical, especially given the situation in agriculture,” Robb said.

“There is an exploding market on our doorstep, but we have to be able to compete.”

Independent modelling shows the agreement would be worth $5 billion between 2015 and 2030, and boost the economy by about $650 million annually after 15 years, the government has said.

The government also hopes to sign free trade deals with Japan and China this year.

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