Korean agreement a shot in the arm for the North

North Queensland will be a big beneficiary from the Korean Free Trade agreement North Queensland based Senator Ian Macdonald said following the release today by Trade and Industry Minister, Andrew Robb, of the terms of the agreement.

Korea is already our second biggest market for Australian beef, and that has been with a 40 per cent tariff imposed on our exports by Korea, Senator Macdonald said.

This tariff will be eliminated progressively over 15 years, tariffs on cheese, butter and infant formula to be eliminated in between three and 30 years and the tariffs on raw sugar to be eliminated immediately the agreement comes into force.

Senator Macdonald pointed out that the US had negotiated a free trade agreement with Korea two years ago, and said it was essential for the Northern beef industry that the parliament adopt this free trade agreement before the end of the year, or Australia would be a further year behind our main competitor.

This expanded market for beef is a great opportunity for northern graziers, and it opens up opportunities across the board for agricultural exports of all kinds.

Senator Macdonald noted that after years of Labor attempting to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement with Korea and getting nowhere, it had taken Minister Robb just five months to successfully complete it.

In the North we recognise the opportunities that the expanding Asian market offers and we are delighted that the government has begun to open it up so that we can take advantage.

We hope that this Free Trade Agreement with Korea is just the first of many more to come.

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