Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement to enter into force in January 2015

17 Dec 2014

The New Year will bring new opportunities for Australian companies to do business with Japan, the nation’s second largest export market, when the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) enters into force on 15 January 2015.

Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb announced the entry into force date after an ‘exchange of notes’ took place between Australia and Japan in Canberra on Tuesday, 16 December.

‘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 the 1st of April 2015,’ Mr Robb said.

‘JAEPA will expand opportunities with our second largest trading partner across a wide range of industries, including agriculture and processed foods, resources, manufacturing and services,’ Mr Robb said.

More than 97 per cent of Australia’s goods exports to Japan will receive preferential treatment or enter duty-free when JAEPA is fully implemented. JAEPA will also support two-way investment opportunities by raising the screening threshold for private Japanese investment in non-sensitive sectors, and enhancing protections and certainty for bilateral investments.

Two-way trade between Australian and Japan was worth A$70.8 billion in 2013, more than 10 per cent of Australia’s total trade.

‘JAEPA increases export opportunities for Australian firms by placing them in a more competitive position, particularly in key areas such as meat, dairy, nuts, wine and wheat and barley for feed,’ said Austrade’s Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner and Country Manager for Japan, Ms Leonie Muldoon.

‘JAEPA is also good news on the investment front,’ Ms Muldoon said.

‘Japanese foreign direct investment has historically been concentrated in the Australian mining and energy sectors, and Japan’s need for energy security will continue to drive funds to this sector. But investment interest in sectors such as the Australian agricultural sector is likely to rise as Japanese trading houses seek to rebalance their investment portfolios and the competitiveness of Australian commodities, products and produce improve as a result of JAEPA.

‘By enhancing Australia’s position as a competitive exporter to Japan and the North Asian region more broadly, JAEPA will also have a positive effect on attracting investment into Australia from other nations.’

JAEPA is the second of three landmark trade agreements in the North Asian region to come into force. It follows the entry into force of the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement on 12 December. It is hoped the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement will enter into force in the second half of 2015 following completion of domestic legal and parliamentary processes in both countries.

Doing business in Japan

While Japan has a mature and well-developed business and legal environment, language barriers and commercial, regulatory and cultural differences still exist.

With four offices in Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka and Sapporo and a team of trade and investment advisors and locally engaged business development managers, Austrade can help Australian companies enter or expand their business in Japan.

Austrade can leverage its ‘badge of government’ and strong relationships with the Japanese government and business community to facilitate access to key decision makers. It can also share information and insights about the Japanese market, including JAEPA outcomes and emerging trends.

A profile of the Japanese market, including reports, presentations and videos, is available from the Austrade website.

DFAT’s website contains comprehensive information about JAEPA.