//
you're reading...
Australian Current Affairs

Australia’s hopes high of locking in Japanese free trade agreement


Australia Japan Free TradeAustralia and Japan are eyeing a chance to conclude a free-trade agreement, possibly with a visit from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe before the middle of the year.

Comments made by Mr Abe and US President Barack Obama in their recent meeting appear to have heightened hopes of Japan joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact negotiations.

And now officials on the Australian side hope that in moving towards the kind of reform necessary to join the TPP, Japan can first conclude the FTA with Australia and have it serve as a show of faith about agricultural tariff reform.

Mr Abe has singled out Australia as one the key countries Japan is keen to strengthen ties with amid a worsening security and strategic situation with China.

So an opportunity has opened up to reach a deal, although similar chances in the past have fallen through amid political instability and agricultural resistance in Japan.

The annual high-level Australia-Japan Conference, chaired by Rod Eddington and Japanese businessman Akio Mimura, took place in Tokyo on Friday amid an air of renewed optimism on the FTA.

Parliamentary secretary Richard Marles, who spoke at the conference, told The Australian the government welcomed Japan’s interest in the TPP and said the “noises from this government and Japan are very positive” on the FTA.

“It would be a very good sign in terms of Japan’s intent to enter the TPP by concluding an FTA with Australia,” he said.

Studies suggest the FTA could add $39 billion to Australia’s GDP over 20 years. Experts say this is based on an unrealistic best-case scenario, but the likely benefits would still be considerable.

However, any deal would probably include reductions to the 5 per cent car tariff Australia applies to foreign cars and trucks, a change that would cost the government revenue and raise the hackles of automotive unions and local car manufacturers. Import tariffs on cars are expected to net Treasury $940 million in 2012-13.

Japan’s path towards trade liberalisation took a leap forward at the talks in Washington last month with the two sides agreeing on two key concessions: that Japan would not have to immediately commit to eliminating all tariffs, and that all items would be up for negotiation.

The joint statement gives Mr Abe the ability to reassure rice farmers that some level of protection will remain for Japan’s staple agricultural commodity, and Mr Obama the ability to tell auto and agricultural producers that Japan won’t be able to declare anything off limits.

Nevertheless, the TPP will require quite sweeping reforms in Japan, and Mr Abe — who is riding high in the polls for now — faces bitter opposition from within his own party, which has close ties with Japanese agriculture, towards any move to join the TPP negotiations.

He is also facing a crucial upper house election in July, in which he hopes to capture both houses of parliament. He will be anxious to avoid division in the lead up.

The circumstances have created a window of opportunity to finally clinch a deal after six years of torturous negotiations.

Source: The Australian – “Hopes high of locking in Japanese trade deal”
 

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

If you liked what you just read, click "Subscribe" to become a follower of the Craig Hill site. You will receive an email each time a new post is published.

Join 17,663 other followers

An archive of all my old posts

Follow me on Twitter

Most Recent Posts Post on My Blog About China: China News

Coronation Of Emperor Xi and the world thereafter

Coronation Of Emperor Xi and the world thereafter

A few days ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping‘s arrest news took social media by storm. The atmosphere was jubilant as if the whole world looked forward to Xi’s exit. The rumor turned out to be fake news; Xi’s third term looks secured. Xi Jinping is all set to snatch the historic third term in the […]

China is coming for your land

China is coming for your land

Drought has plunged water levels to the lowest in China in decades. The temperatures have also soared to record levels, and hydropower plants failed to meet the sharp rise in power demand. However, this is just a glimpse of the worst things to come. Floods, droughts, and record-breaking temperatures would have a catastrophic effect on […]

Chinese drones now almost a daily appearance over Taiwan

Chinese drones now almost a daily appearance over Taiwan

The Chinese military has intensified its drone incursions into the skies above Taiwan with almost daily flights of combat and reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) TB-001 drone was spotted crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait, the de facto boundary between the island and China’s […]

India says disengagement along disputed area with China to be completed by September 12

India says disengagement along disputed area with China to be completed by September 12

India’s foreign ministry said on Friday that disengagement along a disputed border area with China will be completed by Sept. 12. Both countries began disengaging from the Gogra-Hot Springs border area in the western Himalayas on Thursday, over two years after clashes at the frontier strained diplomatic ties. The disengagement comes ahead of a meeting […]

How to make EVs without China’s supply chain

How to make EVs without China’s supply chain

Two electrifying moves in recent weeks have the potential to ignite electric vehicle demand in the United States. First, Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, expanding federal tax rebates for EV purchases. Then California approved rules to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035. The Inflation Reduction Act extends the Obama-era EV tax […]

Anti-India forces: Techniques and agendas exposed

Anti-India forces: Techniques and agendas exposed

In the post-cold war era, India has moved from a policy of non-alignment to a policy of multi-alignment. This means that India has friendly relations with almost all-powerful and developing nations. Today India is carving out a unique path for itself. Such an approach provides prominence and exposes India to the harmful behind-curtain activities by […]

Taiwan’s Kinmen serves as a reminder of China’s aggression

Taiwan’s Kinmen serves as a reminder of China’s aggression

Taiwan’s frontline island of Kinmen was once again in the headlines when President Tsai Ing-wen paid tribute this week to the soldiers and civilians who “operated in solidarity and safeguarded Taiwan” 64 years ago. On Aug. 23, 1958 mainland Chinese troops attacked Kinmen in a key battle that marked the beginning of the Second Taiwan […]

Terrorism: The glue that holds China and Pakistan together 

Terrorism: The glue that holds China and Pakistan together 

The father of communism, Karl Marx, once famously said — “We have no compassion, and we ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror”. This statement summarises how terrorism and communism go hand in hand. Maoist China alone destroyed between 44.5 to 72 million lives. During […]

‘New normal’ across the Taiwan Strait as China threat looms ever closer

‘New normal’ across the Taiwan Strait as China threat looms ever closer

China is attempting to establish a “new normal” across the Taiwan Strait, eroding self-ruled Taiwan’s territorial control and increasing the threat of a strike with each military sortie, officials and analysts say. Beijing has ramped up military maneuvers in the 110-mile (180-kilometer) wide stretch of water that separates Taiwan from mainland China — and the […]

When Beijing was burning, Xi was playing personal games 

When Beijing was burning, Xi was playing personal games 

A great fire destroyed Rome for six days in the summer of AD 64. Famous Roman historian of that time, Tacitus, recorded that 70 percent of the city was destroyed and half of the city’s residents were displaced. Roman ruler Nero was accused of being indifferent, ineffective, and careless. The end result of this neglect […]

%d bloggers like this: