A FREE trade agreement with South Korea (KAFTA) has allowed Australian exporters to storm that country’s market for beauty and skin care products.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade director, trade and investment advocacy, Michael Dean, explained the situation while speaking at the CBFCA national convention in Melbourne.

“This is an example that is less well-known, but this sort of export is benefiting from tariff reductions under our Korea – Australia free trade agreement,” Mr Dean said.

“Prior to the free trade agreement… there was a tariff of 6.5%.”


Since the Korea – Australia free trade agreement came into force, the tariff, which was 6.5%, has been reduced progressively and was eliminated altogether on 1 January, 2018.

“Since then, exports have increased dramatically from about $12.9m (in value) in 2014 (the year before the agreement came into force), to about $36m at the end of 2018,” Mr Dean said.

Michael Dean from DFAT speaks at the CBFCA convention. Credit: David Sexton

“So quite a dramatic increase.”

Mr Dean went on to speak about free trade agreements that are set to be implemented with other nations such as Indonesia and plans to negotiate with the United Kingdom once Brexit takes effect.

He also reiterated Australian support for the World Trade Organization.

Questioned about the impact of the US – China trade war, saying that Australia urged the two nations to resolve their differences.