The landmark Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) will enter into force on 15 January 2015, paving the way for Australian exporters to benefit from two rounds of tariff cuts in the first half of next year.
Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb said Australia and Japan will ‘exchange notes’ in Canberra today, to confirm that both countries have completed their domestic processes, and are ready to bring JAEPA into force.
“JAEPA will deliver substantial benefits for the Australian economy, and the deal means that our exporters will benefit from an immediate round of tariff cuts by Japan on January 15, followed by a further round of cuts on the 1st of April 2015,” Mr Robb said.
“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,” he said.
Mr Robb said 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,” Mr Robb said.
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 eight per cent cut in the first year. This will give Australian exporters a major advantage over the United States – our major competitor.
“This is the most ambitious Free Trade Agreement Japan has concluded with anyone, let alone a major agricultural economy. The Agreement 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,” Mr Robb said.
JAEPA will be the second of three historic trade agreements concluded by the Abbott Government to enter into force following Korea. The recently concluded China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) forms the third in a powerful trifecta of agreements with the major economies of North Asia.
It is hoped ChAFTA will enter into force in the second half of 2015 following completion of domestic legal and parliamentary processes in both countries. “These three agreements will be transformative for the Australian economy, supporting economic growth, job creation, greater prosperity and higher living standards for Australians,” Mr Robb said.
JAEPA was signed in Canberra on 8 July 2014 during Prime Minister Abe’s visit to Australia. Further detailed information can be found here.
Trade and Investment Minister’s Office: 0437 971 721 or 02 6277 7420
DFAT Media Liaison: 02 6261 1555