SA lacks trade presence in South Korea

The Weatherill Labor Government should provide immediate on-ground assistance for exporters in South Korea in order for South Australia to capitalise on the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement that will enter into force today.

The Republic of Korea has a population of more than 50 million people, is the world’s 15th largest economy and is Australia’s fourth largest trading partner.

In the 12 months to October 31 2014, South Australian export value to Korea sat at $251 million as compared to WA at $9.85 billion, QLD at $4.56 billion, NSW at $3.38 billion and Victoria at $1.3 billion.

Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland and New South Wales all have trade offices in South Korea.

“The Free Trade Agreement with Korea is an important opportunity for South Australian exporters by reducing barriers to investment and trade,” said Shadow Investment and Trade Minister Tim Whetstone.

“A physical presence in South Korea would allow South Australia to capitalise on the FTA.

“Our current trade to the Republic of Korea is being left behind compared to other states who have maintained staff in the country for a number of years.”

Mr Whetstone said South Australian businesses will require greater assistance than what is currently available to take advantage of the Korea-Australia FTA.

“Tariffs of up to 300 per cent on agricultural exports like beef, wheat, wine, dairy and sugar will be eliminated and the country currently imports more than 70 per cent of its food and agriculture products, so I believe there are some major opportunities to increase SA exports to the Republic of Korea,” Mr Whetstone said.

“Since the 2011-12 State Budget the Labor Government has almost halved its funding for programs designed to increase exports, despite the ongoing importance of international trade to the South Australian economy.
“Maximising international trade and investment market participation is crucial to creating jobs and growing businesses, and capitalising on FTAs is a key factor.”