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Australia-Japan

Australia and Japan began FTA negotiations in April 2007 after clearing a joint feasibility study (and signing a joint plan for military cooperation). As of April 2012, 15 rounds of talks had been held.

The deal is supposed to be a comprehensive one, but there are serious differences over agriculture, automobiles and energy. Japan has been trying to exclude sensitive farm products — including beef, sugar, dairy, wheat and barley — from the scope of the deal to protect its farmers. Australia, however, wants the preferential market access for farm products beyond what was agreed at WTO. Meanwhile, Japanese farmers and consumers, with full support from groups in Australia, have been mobilising to ensure that any Japan-Australia FTA provides safeguards against GM foods, particularly canola and beef. In effect, since 2007 Australia states have been reneging on their previous GM-free policies and Japanese consumers rely on few sources for GM-free foods like canola oil. Many analysts have viewed the conclusion of this deal as a prerequisite for Japan to enter into Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.

last update: May 2012


Japan ups tariffs on US beef, giving Aussie meat the edge
Australia’s beef industry has been buoyed today by news that Japan is likely to announce it will dramatically increase tariffs on US beef imports.
Australia looking to expand trade with Japan
Australia is seeking to progress the implementation of its free trade agreement with Japan, Trade Minister Steven Ciobo has said.
New wave of Australia-Japan FTA tariff cuts
The fourth round of tariff cuts under the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement entered into force
Coalition may add clause to Japan trade deal that lets foreign companies sue Australia
Provision allows firms to sue in international tribunal if laws introduced or changed that hurt their interests.
Prime ministers spruik benefits of Japan-Australia free trade agreement
Australia has become the first major agricultural nation to implement a free trade agreement with Japan (JAEPA) after seven years of negotiation.
Diet gives final OK on Australian trade pact
The trade deal could take effect in early 2015, sources say, boosting Australian beef, cheese and wine exports to Japan
FTA opens up Japan’s $5 trillion market
The financial services industry appears to be a winner under the landmark free trade agreement negotiated between the Abbott government and Japan.
Tony Abbott confirms Australia and Japan will sign free trade agreement
PM says deal will be formalised during Shinzo Abe’s visit – but Labor calls for more scrutiny of the costs and benefits
Mitsui takes on grain big guns
Mitsui Australia chairman Yasushi Takahashi was a key participant in talks and events in this month’s free-trade agreement between Tokyo and Canberra.
ISDS: The trap the Australia-Japan Free Trade Agreement escaped
So straightforward was Australia’s first trade deal with Japan that the Japanese thought it was a trick.