Free Trade Agreement talks resume between Australia and Japan

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 15th December 2011

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, has used an address to members of the National Diet of Japan to support further agricultural trade liberalisation and to emphasise the importance of addressing agricultural protectionist reforms in Japan, by negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

Japan is Australia’s largest export market for beef and dairy products and is also a key market for Australian wine. Japan is also an important trading partner for a range of Australian sectors, especially agriculture.

Minister Ludwig said Australia and Japan are natural partners in the Asia-Pacific region, with shared market-economy ideals and a long history of cooperation.

“I welcome the Japanese Government’s agreement to resume our Free Trade Agreement negotiations following an understandable interruption caused by the March 2011 tsunami,” he said.

“Australia continues to encourage reform of global agricultural markets through multilateral trade liberalisation. Bilateral and regional agreements, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), will reduce tariff and other barriers to trade and investment.”

Minister Ludwig said Australia’s trading relationship with Japan is very important to Australia’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries and has brought enormous benefits to Australian exporters and Japanese consumers.

He said, “Australia’s agricultural exports contribute more than A$35 billion to Australia’s strong economy, while supporting more than 300,000 jobs in regional Australia.”