NZ-Korea Free Trade Agreement

The New Zealand-Korea FTA is a high quality and comprehensive agreement which delivers significant commercial benefits to New Zealand exporters.

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New Zealand and Korea have complementary economies, and are natural trading partners. New Zealand exports the primary products in demand in Korea and Korea exports the manufactured goods in demand in New Zealand.

Korea is our sixth largest export destination. Total trade in 2016 reached NZ$4.3 billion, with a fairly even split between exports and imports.

The New Zealand-Korea FTA facilitates the movement of goods and services, removes trade barriers, provides greater certainty to investments, and establishes a framework for resolving trade-related issues. It also allows for more cooperation in the areas of agriculture, education, trade facilitation, science and technology, and film and television.

Some of New Zealand’s key competitors already enjoy preferential access into the Korean market. The New Zealand-Korea FTA helps rectify this imbalance, allowing New Zealand exporters to compete on a more level playing field.

The FTA also helps New Zealand exporters grow business in the world’s thirteenth largest economy.

Facts and figures 2016

Korea Population: 51.2 million

Korea GDP: US$1.41 trillion

Timeline: Negotiations started June 2009 and completed in October 2014. Trade Ministers signed the FTA in Seoul on 23 March 2015. The Parliamentary Treaty Examination process was completed in May 2015. The FTA entered into force on 20 December 2015.

New Zealand’s major exports to Korea include: industrial goods (metals, organic chemicals, plastics) forestry products, dairy, beef and lamb, kiwifruit and squash.

New Zealand’s major imports from Korea include: refined oil, cars, electronic equipment and machinery.

Agreement highlights

  • Tariffs will be eliminated on around 98% of New Zealand’s current exports to Korea. This will happen in stages over the next 15 years.
  • Currently, following a reduction in tariffs on 1 January 2017, 66.4% of New Zealand’s exports enter Korea duty free.
  • Better access to high quality Korean goods for New Zealand businesses and consumers.
  • Easier goods trading through agreed rules on: customs, rules of origin, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, standards, technical regulations.
  • Improved access to Korean markets for New Zealand service providers, including streamlined and transparent procedures for travel and visas.
  • Open, competitive and non-discriminatory access to government contracting opportunities.
  • Free and open flows of investment between New Zealand and Korea, and measures to safeguard investors interests.
  • Dedicated chapters on environment and labour that provide for more effective discussion and cooperation.
  • Both countries have agreed to maintain competition laws against anti-competitive business conduct such as abuse of market power and anti-competitive mergers.
  • Increased cooperation to create new opportunities in areas of mutual interest such as agriculture, education, trade facilitation, science and technology, and film and television.
  • A clear and detailed process to settle disputes related to the FTA.

Using the FTA

Businesses trading in goods

Use the Tariff Finder(external link) to find out:

  1. the tariff classification for the good
  2. the tariff commitments
  3. the Rules of Origin (ROO)
  4. documentation and other requirements

Service sector businesses

Use Chapter 8 and Annex 8A, 8B, I and II of the FTA to find out:

  1. how your service is classified
  2. if there are limits on national treatment or market access for your service
  3. if there are any additional commitments for your service


Use Chapter 10 and its annexes A to E, and Annex I and II to find out how the FTA helps investors.

New Zealand and Korea have also made commitments in other areas:


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