Japan-Australia FTA brings new tariff cuts

The fifth round of tariff cuts under the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) came into effect on the first day of April, delivering wide-ranging benefits for Australian businesses that will help drive exports and create new jobs.

“The new tariff cuts will boost Australia’s already vibrant trade and investment relationship with Japan, our second-largest trading partner and the world’s third largest economy,” minister for trade, tourism and investment, Steven Ciobo announced in a media release.

Australia’s goods exports to Japan were valued at $45 billion in 2017, a rise of 24 per cent over 2016.

“JAEPA is the most liberalising trade agreement Japan has ever negotiated and implemented. Once fully implemented, about 98 per cent of Australia’s merchandise exports to Japan will receive preferential access or enter duty-free,” trade minister said.

Some of the exports receiving further tariff cuts under the new round include fresh and frozen beef, natural honey, oranges and mandarin.

Australian businesses are embracing JAEPA. Almost 96 per cent of eligible products exported to Japan made use of JAEPA’s preferential access in 2017.

JAEPA is also helping grow bilateral services exports and investment. Services exports to Japan in 2016-17 were worth $2.5 billion, a rise of almost nine per cent over the previous year.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signed the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) on 8 July 2014 and it entered into force on 15 January 2015.

The agreement provides valuable preferential access for Australia’s exporters and will support further growth in two-way investment.