JAEPA takes tariffs down again

Tariffs on some Aussie exports to Japan have dropped again on the first of the month as the fifth round of tariff cuts under the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) came into effect.

In a statement, trade minister Steven Ciobo said the tariff cuts would boost Australia’s “vibrant” trade and investment relationship with Japan.

“JAEPA is the most liberalising trade agreement Japan has ever negotiated and implemented,” he said.

“Once fully implemented, about 98% of Australia’s merchandise exports to Japan will receive preferential access or enter duty-free.”

Mr Ciobo said almost 96% of eligible products exported to Japan made use of JAEPA’s preferential access in 2017.

The trade minister pointed to some examples of exports that received further tariff cuts on 1 April:

  • Fresh or chilled beef: 38.5% pre-JAEPA, now 29.3%. Exports up 1% to $1.1bn in 2017.
  • Frozen beef: 38.5% pre-JAEPA, now 26.9%. Exports up 24% to $883.3m in 2017.
  • Natural honey: 25.5% pre-JAEPA, now 13.9%. Exports up 51% to $2m in 2017.
  • Oranges: 16% pre-JAEPA, now 8.7%. Exports up 15% to $54.2m in 2017.
  • Mandarins: 17% pre-JAEPA, now 11.7%. Exports up 66% to $8m in 2017.
  • Handbags: 8-16% pre-JAEPA ; now 4.4%. Exports up 300% to $1.4m in 2017.

According to DFAT, Australia’s total merchandise trade with Japan over the 2016-17 financial year was worth $62,88bn.

Over the period, Japan was Australia’s second largest merchandise trading partner, accounting for 11% of Australia’s merchandise imports and exports (by value).

Merchandise exports to the island nation were worth $42.2bn, and imports from Japan were worth $20.7bn over the past financial year.

By far, Australia’s largest export to Japan (by value) was coal, which was worth $15.2bn in 2016-17.

The second-largest export category to Japan was iron ores and concentrates, worth $5.4bn; followed by beef (fresh, chilled or frozen), worth $1.9bn; and copper ores and concentrates, worth $1.3bn.

Turning to imports from Japan to Australia over the past financial year, we find that passenger motor vehicles constituted the largest export category by value, worth $7.4bn over the year.

Gold came in second at $2.6bn, followed by refined petroleum ($2.5bn) and “goods vehicles” ($1.4 bn).