G-20 Summit: South Korea and New Zealand agree free trade deal

New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key speaks at a joint press conference with Canada's prime minister in Auckland on Nov 14, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key speaks at a joint press conference with Canada's prime minister in Auckland on Nov 14, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

BRISBANE, Australia (AFP) - South Korea and New Zealand agreed to a free trade deal Saturday on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Brisbane, ending five years of negotiations, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said.

Mr Key said the free-trade agreement (FTA) would help build on two-way trade of NZ$4 billion (S$4.1 billion) between Wellington and Seoul, which is New Zealand's sixth-largest trading partner. "The FTA will put New Zealand exporters back on a level playing field with competitors from Korea's other FTA partners, such as the United States, Chile and the European Union," he said in a statement.

Mr Key said the agreement, which has yet to be formally signed, would result in lower tariffs for New Zealand exporters.

New Zealand's main exports to South Korea are logs, dairy, fruit and aluminium, while Seoul ships electronic goods, cars and heavy machinery the other way, according to official data.