Seventh Australia-ROK Joint Economic Committee

On 21 July, Australia and the Republic of Korea held the seventh Australia-ROK Joint Economic Committee meeting via videolink. This was the first such meeting since both sides agreed to re-energise the forum at the 2019 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministers Meeting.

Australia and the ROK are celebrating the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties in 2021. In that time, our bilateral relationship has gone from strength to strength, now underpinned by close trade and economic ties, and a shared goal of supporting a stable, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific.

At the dialogue, officials explored ways to advance our economic relationship, as agreed by leaders in the sidelines of the G7+ in June, and during the recent visit to the Republic of Korea by the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon. Dan Tehan. Priority areas include cooperation in critical minerals supply chains, future collaboration in hydrogen, and a regional digital trade initiative in the Indo-Pacific amid the acceleration of digital economies in the COVID era.

Australia and Korea also acknowledged leader-level agreement to pursue an ambitious program of engagement on climate change, including the establishment of a Low Emissions Technology Partnership. Critical minerals, energy and infrastructure were identified as key areas for future economic cooperation.

Discussions covered the impact of COVID-19 on regional stability, and acknowledgement of our support to Southeast Asia and ASEAN in its economic recovery. The two sides agreed to seek opportunities to cooperate in artificial intelligence, space and robotics and autonomous systems. Global supply chain resilience and digital economy transformation continue to be priority areas for both Australia and Korea.

Officials also noted the importance of continuing to strengthen multilateral institutions, including the G7+, G20 and the WTO, and exchange information on RCEP and CPTPP, with a view to promoting an open and rules-based multilateral trading system.

The Australian Delegation was led by A/Deputy Secretary Indo-Pacific Group, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Elly Lawson. The Korean delegation was led by Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Seong-ho Lee.

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