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Australian P.M. to visit Korea

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Published : 2014-03-25 12:09
Updated : 2014-03-25 12:09

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks at a joint press conference with Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill (not pictured) in Port Moresby on March 21. (AFP)

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott will make a state visit to Korea from April 8-9 to hold talks with President Park Geun-hye and to sign a free trade agreement between the two countries, Cheong Wa Dae said Tuesday.

The upcoming trip marks Abbott’s first official visit to Korea since he took office in September last year. The two leaders will hold talks on April 8 to discuss a wide range of issues including political, business and cultural cooperation. The two held their first summit in October, on the sidelines of The ASEAN+3 and East Asia Summit held in Brunei.

“President Park will discuss bilateral cooperation on political and security issues, seek business and trade partnership and strengthen cultural and human resource exchanges, as well as sharing views on regional and international issues,” Cheong Wa Dae said in a statement.

The prime minister’s visit is expected to boost business and trade partnerships between Korea and Australia as the two leaders plan to sign the free trade pact virtually concluded last December.

The FTA is expected to lower the tariffs for Korean automobile and electronic export products, while providing trade barriers for local agricultural and livestock industries, officials said.

As of last year, Australia was Korea’s seventh-largest trading partner, while Korea was the fourth-largest partner for Australia, as well as its third-largest car exporter.

The trade volume between the two countries reached $29 billion last year.

By Cho Chung-un (christory@heraldcorp.com)

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