26 Jan 2009

Free trade group upbeat about Korea deal prospects

4:38 pm on 26 January 2009

A free trade lobby group does not expect the global downturn to hinder New Zealand's chances of securing a trade agreement with Korea.

A study by the Institute of Economic Research and the Korean Institute for International Economic Policy has concluded that an agreement would boost trade and growth for both countries.

The Government is taking the next steps to establish a timeframe for formal negotiations.

The global economic downturn has raised fears of greater protectionism, however International Business Forum executive director Stephen Jacobi says Korea's government has pledged itself to liberalising trade.

Mr Jacobi says despite difficulties in its agreement with the United States, which some sectors of the economy oppose, he is confident Korea will see the benefit of a deal with New Zealand.

Korea is New Zealand's sixth largest export market and trade is worth about $2.5 billion a year.