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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 could back off FTA with Australia
Japan has decided not to pursue free trade talks with Australia because of concerns that its agricultural industry could be harmed, a news report said yesterday.
No support in Japanese beef industry for FTA with Australia
When he leaves China for Japan tomorrow, Prime Minister, John Howard, will still be focusing on a free trade deal. He will be asking his Japanese counterpart, Junichiro Koizumi, to start down the track of a Free Trade Agreement between Australia and Japan.
FTA deal shaky over agriculture
Australia’s prospects of a trade breakthrough with Japan this week have been undermined by new regional tensions and growing domestic opposition.
FTA would have little impact on Japan’s farm sector: Aust
A free trade agreement (FTA) between Japan and Australia would not deal a serious blow to Japanese agricultural sectors, a senior Australian Government official says.