7 Aug 2014

Make or break time for Korea FTA?

8:49 am on 7 August 2014

It's make or break time for free-trade talks between New Zealand and South Korea, commentators have said.

The latest round of negotiations have been taking place in Seoul this week.

Is it make of break time for a trade deal with South Korea?

Is it make of break time for a trade deal with South Korea? Photo: AFP

Last week Minister for Trade Tim Groser said he had given his final offer to the Koreans to resolve problems such as easing barriers for New Zealand's dairy, kiwifruit and beef farmers.

Korean tariffs cost exporters $195 million a year.

The international Business Forum said concluding a deal has taken on some urgency since Korea signed free-trade deals with many of New Zealand's rivals, including Chile, America, and recently Australia and Canada.

Spokesperson Stephen Jacobi said access to Korea for New Zealand's farmers is the key.

"They're keen to do a deal, we're keen to do a deal, but on what basis is it going to be done? Obviously New Zealand needs the best possible access for our dairy and beef and horticultural exports, one that's no different from the previous agreements that have been done by Korea."

Agricultural trade envoy Mike Petersen said New Zealand cannot afford to be priced out of what is an important market.