Korea and New Zealand pledge to ratify FTA by first half of ’15

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Korea and New Zealand pledge to ratify FTA by first half of ’15

Korea and New Zealand signed a contract on Monday promising to officially ratify their bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) by the first half of next year.

Korean Deputy Trade Minister Choi Kyung-lim and his New Zealand counterpart, David Walker, attended a signing ceremony on Monday local time in Wellington, New Zealand.

The Korea-New Zealand FTA will be publicly disclosed in English on the Korean government website on Monday, when the government will also begin legal reviews of the FTA accord. The agreement with New Zealand was announced on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in November in Brisbane, Australia, following more than 65 months of negotiations.

Once the FTA takes effect next year, Korea will phase out tariffs on more than 96.4 percent of the products it imports from New Zealand within the next 15 years. New Zealand will do the same for the Korean items within seven years.

Korea is looking forward to boosting its exports of tires and freight cars to New Zealand, on which it currently imposes a 5 percent tax.

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