Korea and New Zealand have concluded their FTA negotiations. At present, the two countries have finished the drafting of the agreement document and are going to sign it provisionally within this year after legal review. Then, the deal will officially be signed early next year, and become effective through parliamentary ratification.
According to the agreement, New Zealand will eliminate its tariffs on 92 percent of Korean imports immediately, and 100 within seven years. Those on tires and washing machines, which are subject to tariffs of 5 percent to 12.5 percent now, will be eliminated without delay, while the 5 percent tariffs on refrigerators, construction machinery, auto parts, and many more are to be removed within three years.
Korea will eliminate its tariffs on 48.3 percent of the imports immediately and 96.5 percent within 20 years. One hundred ninety-nine items will be excluded from the deal, including rice, natural honey, apples, pears, and garlic.
At the same time, they are going to set up an offshore processing zone committee so that products manufactured in the Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea can be regarded as produced in South Korea. New Zealand is planning to open its build-operate-transfer (BOT) projects to Korea as well.
The Working Holiday quota will be increased from 1,800 to 3,000 persons a year, while temporary employment entry will be allowed for 200 a year. Fifty agricultural and livestock farming training visas will be granted each year, too.
“By concluding the Korea-New Zealand FTA, we have signed bilateral free trade agreements with 10 out of the 12 Trans-Pacific Partnership member countries, with the exception of Japan and Mexico,” the Korean government explained, adding, “Under the circumstances, Korea will be able to get the inside track during the TPP negotiations to come.”