The Australian, Canberra
No Korean FTA today - Gillard
27 March 2012
AAP: Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she will raise the topic of free trade with the South Korean president, but a final deal could be some way off.
Ms Gillard will meet with Lee Myung-bak on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul today.
The federal government had hoped to have a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) clinched by the end of 2011.
"We are still working hard to secure that free trade agreement, so there will not be a free trade agreement signed at this summit,’’ Ms Gillard told reporters.
"I am here for another purpose.
"But of course I’ll be talking to President Lee about further progress on those negotiations."
Labor launched the FTA negotiations in March 2009, promising it would deliver gains for Australian exporters, investors and consumers.
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The South Korean government faced stiff opposition - both inside parliament and in the wider community - to its free trade deal with the US, known as KORUS FTA.
The deal was signed in 2007 but the controversy ensured it was not ratified until late last year.