THE Coalition Government has finalised trade discussions with the Republic of Korea, closing on a significant Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that may create up to 1700 jobs as a result of greater export opportunity.

Recently announced in a joint statement, the new FTA with Korea eliminates former tariffs of up to 300% on key exports including resources, energy, manufactured goods and some agricultural products, potentially fuelling export growth by 25%.

In particular, tariffs of between eight and 15% on gas will be eliminated, preceding a 17% increase in energy and resource product exports to Korea in the next 15 years.

Bi-lateral trade with Korea in 2012 reached $32bn, while reports from the Minerals Council of Australia valued mineral exports at around $12.5bn in 2012-13, which is expected to rise as a result of the FTA.

An independent model revealed the outcome of increased exports could be worth $5 billion between 2015 and 2030, and boost the economy by around $650 million annual after 15 years.

The FTA stipulates marketing opportunities in Korea for Australian services in education, telecommunications and professional services including financial, accounting and legal services.

Korea is currently Australia’s third-largest goods export market and fourth-largest trading partner, however the FTA stands to secure Australia’s position in the Korean market as a competitor along with the United States, the European Union and the ASEAN countries.