Australia and Japan to sign free trade deal today

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe will sign an historic free trade agreement in Canberra this afternoon.

As News.com.au reports, Japan is Australia’s second largest
trading partner and it accounts for $70 billion, or 11 per cent of our total
trade.

Form the Japanese perspective, the big winners from the deal
will be manufacturers of cars and electrical goods. And conversely, Australian
consumers of these products can look forward to cheaper lap tops, smartphones, televisions
and cars.

The Australian rural sector is another major beneficiary of
the deal, which Japan refers to as the Economic Partnership agreement.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian
beef producers will see tariffs on frozen beef cut from 38.5 per cent tariff to 19.5 per cent when the agreement is fully implemented.

In addition, tariffs on fresh beef will be cut to 23.5 per
cent over the next 15 years; and beef ofal exports will also face lower tariffs
and higher quota.

As AAP reports, Nationals senator Matthew Canavan acknowledged
the benefits the deal would offer Australian farmers.

Referring to Australia’s doomed car industry he told
reporters, “The way we’re going to make a car in the future is we’re going
to grow wheat, we’re going to grow cotton, we’re going to grow beef, we’re
going to put it on a boat and wave goodbye to it. Then magically another boat
will come in the other direction with a car on it, probably from Japan.”

AAP reports that the Labor Party wants the Government to release
the full details of the free trade deal before it is signed today.

Opposition trade spokeswoman Penny Wong asked reporters, “What’s
the secret? The only information Australians have is a five-page glossy
pamphlet.”

Image: AsiaOne