17 Nov 2014

No downside to deal with Korea: Groser

3:04 pm on 17 November 2014

Trade Minister Tim Groser says there is zero downside to the latest free trade deal with South Korea.

Tim Groser

Tim Groser Photo: RNZ

South Korean media have reported the deal means 92 percent of Korean imports, including a washing machines and tyres, would instantly be tariff-free, with all tariffs abolished within seven years.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said New Zealand currently applies a 5 percent tariff on imports of washing machines and car tyres. The same tariffs are already free for imports from China in a free trade deal since 2012.

The agreement would also double the number of working holiday visas for young Koreans from 1800 to 3000 a year.

In addition, 200 South Koreans would be able to come to New Zealand and work, with an extra 50 places for training in the agricultural sector.

Mr Groser said one of the problems negotiating free trade deals is that New Zealand is virtually free trade.

"This has been one of the problems, because we can't offer great new opportunities in New Zealand, when we basically got almost free trade. The upside of that calculation, of course, is that nobody's gonna lose a single job out of this negotiation."

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