JAPAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT TO BOOST AGRICULTURE

JAPAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT TO BOOST AGRICULTURE

AUSTRALIA and Japan have struck a bilateral agreement, highlighting unparalleled benefits to Australian consumers and diverse industries including agriculture and dairy.

The prospects seem promising considering Japan has served as Australia’s largest trade partner for the past four decades, and the third largest foreign investor in Australia.

Business Council of Australia President Catherine Livingstone (pictured) says the agreement will work to strengthen the existing bilateral relationship between the countries.

Australian agribusiness will be the key beneficiary of JAEPA, a boon for Queensland, as tariffs on beef and dairy exports will drop to make Australia the first major agricultural exporter to conclude such an agreement with Japan.

The market is set to grow as the tariff on frozen beef is incrementally halved from 38.5 per cent to 19.5 per cent, beginning this year.

Meanwhile, the agreement will provide the Japanese with greater investment opportunities in Australia, and greater food and energy security.

“The sooner the deal comes into force, the quicker the benefits will flow to consumers, businesses and the broader community, and the earlier the agreement will support higher levels of job creation.” 

Where Livingstone says a swift implementation is required, Wilcox says a careful implementation of the agreement on the Government’s behalf is also necessary. 

Trade Minister Andrew Robb sealed the agreement over the weekend, which Prime Minister Tony Abbott has named the biggest event in Japan-Australia relations since the 1957 economic partnership between the two countries.

Despite being a milestone, Livingstone says the government should remain forward-thinking and now turn its focus to attaining a similar agreement with China.

“We urge the government to show the same level of commitment to concluding a balanced and comprehensive agreement with China, as has been done with both Japan and Korea [which will be formally signed in Seoul today].”

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