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Australia holds free trade talks with South Korea
Date: 2010/5/28 Click: 1956
Australia aimed to secure a free trade deal with South Korea that would expand opportunities for Australia's beef and automotive sectors, Trade Minister Simon Crean said on Tuesday.

Crean said discussions were proceeding "positively and quickly".

"We are hopeful of a breakthrough in this free trade agreement (FTA) sometime in the future," he told reporters in Parliament House.

South Korea has already been Australia's third-largest export market, buying up plenty of coal, iron ore and petroleum. Australia imports Korean cars.

Crean said Australia wanted better access in South Korea for its beef and dairy products, but he acknowledged that agriculture was always a sensitive issue.

There were also sensitivities with South Korea over the automotive sector, but Crean said they could be worked through.

Upcoming meetings of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the G20 would aim to add momentum towards clinching a new wave of multilateral trade liberalization through the stalled Doha round, the trade minister said.

More political participation was needed to reinvigorate the Doha talks by the end of the year, and countries who wanted more out of the trade deal needed to offer more, Crean said.

Talks on FTA between Australia and South Korea has began in Canberra on Tuesday.
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