An FTA with (South) Korea

November 16th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

After five years of negotations, Korea and New Zealand are set to sign on a free trade agreement this afternoon.

Prime Minister John Key advised the deal was done soon after arriving into Brisbane for the G20 this afternoon. It is a landmark deal for Mr Key as the first bilateral free trade agreement under his watch as Prime Minister.

He will meet with Korea’s President Park Geun-hye before making the announcement. However, he said it would still be a challenge to get it through Korea’s Parliament, which has baulked over free trade agreements in the past.

Mr Key said that was because it involved agriculture which was a politically sensitive issue. However, the agreement was similar to those Korea had signed with Australia, Canada and the United States.

Mr Key said it was “a good deal” and would see tariffs imposed on New Zealand exporters drop by about $65 million in its first year with further drops until tariffs in most areas phased completely over a decade. Mr Key said there were some areas which were of little relevance to New Zealand and other sectors where it would have been impossible to budge Korea further

“I think those sectors might, at the margins, be slightly disappointed but overall people will be pretty happy.”

“Korea is a big market, there is $4 billion in two way trade. We pay about $225 – $250 million in tariffs each year. I think there will be a lot of New Zealand businesses quite happy with it on Saturday night.”

Good to see another FTA agreed. Reducing tariffs benefits both countries involved.

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The South Korean porn police

December 13th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Moon Tae-Hwa stares at his computer, dizzy and nauseous from the hours of porn he’s viewed online while his wife and children slept. He feels no shame – only a righteous sense of mission.

“I feel like I’m cleaning up dirty things,” the devout Christian and family counsellor said.

Moon is among the most successful members of the “Nuri Cops” (roughly “net cops”), a squad of nearly 800 volunteers who help government censors by patrolling the Internet for pornography in their spare time.

Hmmn, so these 800 people volunteer to hunt for all the nasty dirty porn out there, to protect their fellow citizens from it. You know, that sounds like quite a fun job! :-)

Unlike most developed nations, pornography is illegal in South Korea, though it remains easy for its tech-savvy population to find. More than 90 percent of South Korea’s homes have high-speed Internet access, and more than 30 million of its 50 million people own smartphones.

“It’s like shovelling snow in a blizzard,” Moon conceded.

But nevertheless, he’ll happily carry on spending eight hours a day, seven days a week searching for all that pornography so he can complain to someone about it. True valiant servants.

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