Export sales across a variety of commodities to Japan have jumped since the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) came into effect 12 months ago, as businesses capitalise on the opportunities it’s created, Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb said.

Mr Robb said wine, beef and grape-growers are among those enjoying the competitive advantage JAEPA has delivered.

“Today marks one year since the agreement with Japan came into force.  Since then, agricultural enterprises in particular have made the most of the substantial tariff cuts secured under JAEPA,” Mr Robb said.

“There’s been a more than ten-fold increase in export sales of fresh table grapes, climbing from $0.6 million to $6.5 million.  Shelled almond exporters have experienced similar results, with sales jumping from $0.4 million to $4.1 million.”

Beef export values for both fresh/chilled and frozen beef grew by 24 and 15 per cent respectively.  The export value of beef tongue – a popular dish in many Japanese restaurants – increased by 75 per cent to reach more than $52 million.

“Australia is now supplying more wine to Japan, with export sales of bottled wine experiencing growth of 11 per cent.  Remarkably, sales of bulk wine have almost tripled, to more than $5 million,” Mr Robb said.

Export sales of frozen shrimp and prawns increased 90 per cent, rolled oats sales to Japan are up 62 per cent, fresh Valencia oranges up 77 per cent, while asparagus sales have experienced a 41 per cent increase.

Mr Robb said the growth in export numbers to Japan replicates the positive impact the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) has had on exports to that part of Asia.

“The latest data shows Australian businesses have been quick to capitalise on the agreement with Korea, and the historic FTA with China – which entered into force late last year – is expected to yield similar results,” Mr Robb said.

“What these figures show is that not only has tariff relief made our traditional exports stronger, it’s created opportunities over the past 12 months in emerging areas where we were previously not competitive and had no market share.”

Mr Robb said there’s no doubt Asia’s growing middle class is developing a taste for Australia’s clean, green produce. 

“The outcomes we’re seeing from these trade agreements further underline the importance of bilateral trade deals in improving our competitive position in the major markets of North Asia; I encourage all businesses to take full advantage of the opportunities the FTAs are creating,” Mr Robb said.

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