Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb today welcomed the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) strong endorsement of the the landmark Japan Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA).

Japan is Australia’s second-largest trade partner, with total two-way trade exceeding $70 billion in 2013.  Japan is also our third-largest source of foreign investment, having invested $131 billion in Australia.

JSCOT made a single emphatic recommendation that binding treaty action be taken for an agreement that “will substantially liberalise Australia’s trade with Japan”.

“The Committee noted that JAEPA will give Australian industries, particularly agriculture a major first-mover advantage over our competitors in the Japanese market,” Mr Robb said.

“It observed that the agreement will afford Australian exporters significantly improved market access in goods and services, eliminating or dramatically reducing tariffs on a wide range of Australian goods exports, including beef, dairy, horticulture, seafood, wine as well as energy and resources products.”

The agreement also guarantees access for a broad range of Australian services equivalent to or better than the highest levels of access Japan had provided to any other trading partner. “If Japan gives more favourable commitments in services to other trading partners in the future, it will also extend them to Australia,” Mr Robb said.

JSCOT also noted that Australian consumers will enjoy cheaper Japanese imports, notably cars and household and electronic consumer goods.

JAEPA is expected to enter into force in early 2015, following the completion of domestic procedures in both countries.

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