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Australia-Japan trade agreement could boost Oz wine industry

Published:  09 July, 2014

Australia's wine industry got a shot in the arm yesterday as the Japan Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) was signed, which will offer 97% of Australia exports to Japan preferential or duty free access to Japan's $5 trillion market.

According to the the Australian government department of foreign affairs and trade website, the trade agreement will eliminate the 15% tariff on bottled wine over seven years, with the tariff on bulk wine being eliminated immediately. Wine exports to Japan were worth $42 million in 2013.

Japan and Australia are long-standing trading partners, with Japan being one of the top export markets for Australian products, only rivalled recently by China. In 2013 trade and service exports reached a total of $70.8 billion.

The trade agreement negotiations between Australia and Japan started in 2007.

Andrew Robb, Australia's trade minister told Business Today: "This is by far the most ambitious trade agreement that Japan has ever done with any country in the world, this is a first. We've got the best deal Japan's done with anyone, it's going to add billions of dollars of revenue for Australians, it goes heavily into services and many areas outside of agriculture to the benefit of Australia."

Robb also has been spearheading the effort to get a trade agreement with China in place as well.  Robb said that the Sino-Australian Free Trade agreement will be signed by the end of the year. Australia and China have been in trade negotiations for eight years.  

New Zealand signed a trade agreement with China four years ago and saw its agricultural sector get a major boost in trade, with wine exports increasing dramatically.  

According to the New Zealand government's Trade & Enterprise website, by 2013 the agreement had major benefits for the New Zealand wine trade. "To say the growth of New Zealand wine in the China market has been exponential over the past four years is hardly an exaggeration. Sitting at a modest $2.44 million in 2008, wine exports to China reached $17 million in 2011. Fast forward to 2012 and there's been a further 50% rise, with sales now reaching $25 million in the year to June."