Japan free-trade deal coming January 15

This article has been taken directly from Lloyd’s List Australia.

Entry into force of the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA), a free trade agreement, will take place on January 15 next year, Federal trade minister Andrew Robb has announced.

Diplomatic notes were exchanged in Canberra on December 15, signifying that both countries had completed all their domestic legal and administrative procedures, which brings the treaty into force 30 days later.

“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 April 1, 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 added.

Key benefits of the treaty include 99.7% of Australia’s exports of resource, energy and manufacturing products will enter Japan duty-free.

Total two-way trade between Australia and Japan was valued at $70.75bn in 2013, which is more than 10% of Australia’s total trade. Australia’s total exports to Japan stood at $49.53bn while total imports stood at $21.22bn.

Merchandise trade values were, of course, slightly lower.

Australian exports to Japan last year were worth $47.5bn, imports from Japan were worth $18.91bn, while total two-way merchandise trade was worth $66.41bn.

Australia’s top 5 exports to Japan (2013)

1. Liquefied natural gas – $14.38bn (Japan Ministry of Finance data; cost, insurance & freight basis)

2. Coal – $13.68bn

3. Iron ores and concentrates – $9.57bn

4. Beef – $1.43bn

5. Copper ores and concentrates – $1.37bn

Australia’s top 5 imports from Japan (2013)

1. Passenger motor vehicles – $6.70bn

2. Refined petroleum – $3.40bn

3. Goods vehicles – $1.24bn

4. Transport services – $938m

5. Rubber tyres – $669m