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Tariff cuts further sweeten Australia-Japan trade deal

Australia’s trade relationship with Japan continues to deliver a smorgasbord of benefits for farmers.

The fourth round of tariff cuts, negotiated through the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA), took effect last week with the big winners beef, seafood, cheese, fruit and honey.

National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) President, Fiona Simson, said Australia’s high quality, safe food and fibre had long been preferred by Japanese consumers, and that the JAEPA, brought into force by the Government in 2015, was having real benefit for Australian farmers.

“Japan is currently the second biggest exporter of Australian agricultural products representing $4.7 billion worth of trade in 2016," Ms Simson said.

In the latest round of tariff cuts and quota volume increases, the largest tariff reductions will apply to chilled and frozen beef.

“Tariffs on these products will drop to 29.9 per cent and 27.2 per cent respectively, down from 38.5 per cent. Beef remains Australia’s leading agricultural export to Japan, worth $1.8 billion in 2016,” Ms Simson said.

Other industries to benefit from reduced tariffs include:

  • Honey down by a further 2.3 per cent,
  • Southern Bluefin tuna down by a further 0.4 per cent,
  • Table grapes down by a further 1.6 per cent,
  • Oranges down by 1.4 per cent,
  • Mandarins down by 1 per cent, and
  • Grated cheese down by 1.2 per cent (this with a quota volume increase of 80 tonnes to 440 tonnes for the year from 1 April 2017).

Ms Simson also welcomed the Government’s continued focus on non-tariff trade barriers.

“The Government’s ongoing work to negotiate improved technical market access into Japan is important and has already started to pay dividends.

“In 2016 melon growers gained new access for melons through JAEPA and Tasmanian pumpkin growers also now have a new, Japanese-market for their produce.” 

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