Article – Japan Free Trade Agreement to come into force in January

16 December 2014
Lucy Barbour
ABC Rural
The Federal Trade Minister Andrew Robb has announced that Australia’s free trade agreement with Japan will begin on January 15.
Mr Robb says the implementation of the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) will mean exporters will benefit from two rounds of tariff cuts in the first half of 2015.
The second round of tariff cuts will take place at the beginning of April.
The JAEPA is the first free trade deal Japan has made with a major exporting nation and will lead to reduced or eliminated tariffs for a range of agricultural commodities, including beef, dairy, cotton, wine and beer.
“Like the back-to-back tariff cuts provided by the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement, this will deliver immediate benefits for exporters and significantly enhance their competitive position in the Japanese market,” Mr Robb said.
He adds that more than 97 per cent of Australia’s goods exports to Japan will receive preferential access, or enter duty-free, once the agreement is fully implemented.
“JAEPA will expand opportunities with our second largest trading partner across a wide range of industries, including agriculture and processed foods, resources, manufacturing and services.
“Australian beef, for example, with exports to Japan last year worth $1.4 billion, will be a major beneficiary with the 38.5 per cent tariff to be halved over 15 years, with heavy front-end loading, including an 8 per cent cut in the first year.
Mr Robb says that the FTA will give Australian exporters a major advantage over major competitor, the United States, and that changes to foreign investment rules will be a boost for Japan.
“The FTA will also support growth in investment from Japan, already our third largest investor, by raising the foreign investment screening threshold for private Japanese investment into Australia.”
The JAEPA will be the second of three historic trade agreements, concluded by the Abbott Government, to enter into force after the Korea Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) began last week.
The government agreed to the terms of a free trade deal with China last month.
Andrew Robb
Courtesy of ABC Rural