Exporters eye Japan with launch of new free trade agreement

Posted on 16 Jan 2015 by Tim Brown

Australian Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb has encouraged businesses to explore potential export opportunities with Japan with a new free trade agreement with the country coming into force this week.

Speaking from Mumbai where he is leading a 450-strong Australian business delegation, Mr Robb said the free trade agreement, titled Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA), provides improved access to Japan’s growing markets, with more than 97% of Australia’s exports receiving preferential or duty free access when fully implemented.

“JAEPA is the most liberalising trade agreement Japan has ever signed, giving Australian exporters a significant advantage over their competitors. Its commencement also comes at a time when a softer Australian dollar is working to the benefit of our exporters,” Mr Robb said.

“There’s growing demand across Asia for Australia’s clean green produce; the opportunities are there for the taking, and if seized upon, will help create jobs, build our economy and lead to greater prosperity for everyone,” he said.

“High tariffs on our beef exports have been immediately cut by around one fifth – with further cuts to come on 1 April – while a range of Australian agricultural exports will enter Japan duty free, including prawns, lobsters, asparagus, cherries, grapes, macadamia nuts and almonds. Duty free quotas on cheese are now in place too,” Mr Robb said.

Mr Robb said the free trade agreement also guarantees access to the Japanese market for a range of Australian service suppliers, including financial, legal, education and telecommunications services.

Along with export opportunities, Mr Robb said JAEPA presents benefits for consumers, with cheaper import prices on a range of goods, including cars, white goods and electronics.

“We’ve already begun to see the benefits to Australian consumers of cheaper Japanese cars, with three manufactures reducing the cost of ‘family’ sized cars by up to $2600, with savings of up to $7600 for higher-end models,” Mr Robb said.

“When you consider petrol prices are now at a four-year low, there’s certainly savings to be had for motorists during the busy summer holiday period,” he said.

Australian businesses are encouraged to use a step-by-step guide to accessing preferential tariffs on exports to Japan. The guide is available at: www.dfat.gov.au/fta/jaepa/fact-sheets/guide-to-using-jaepa-to-export-and-import-goods.html