Small business across Australia to reap the rewards from Japan trade deal

Thursday, 15 January 2015

From today, Australian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will benefit from increased access to the Japanese market.

Australian businesses should take advantage of the new opportunities opened up by the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA).

JAEPA is the most liberalising trade agreement Japan has ever signed. With this in mind, I urge Australian SMEs to take a careful look at what new opportunities have been created by this historic agreement.

SMEs in the services sector will benefit from guaranteed access to a variety of areas.

Law firms will have improved access to the Japanese legal services market and financial service providers will have guaranteed cross-border access when providing wholesale investment advice and portfolio management services.

Australian education providers will also have guaranteed access to Japan’s higher education services market. This includes vocational and technical education, potentially enhancing the overseas competitiveness of our TAFE sector.

In addition to these new and non-traditional sectors, JAEPA presents significant opportunities for SMEs involved in more traditional export markets.

Our farming community will benefit from preferential access on a wide range of agricultural products. Asparagus is Australia’s largest vegetable export to Japan, and as of today the three percent tariff on asparagus has been removed. As has the five per cent tariff on macadamia nuts, which is great news for such an iconic Australian product.

For beef producers, Japan’s high beef tariffs have been cut sharply for Australia. Many cuts start immediately, and even more will take place on 1 April, giving us an even bigger advantage in such a major, influential international market.

New market-access opportunities have also been created for seafood exporters.

As part of our commitment to this FTA, Australia will eliminate our remaining tariffs on imports from Japan.

This is a good news story for Australian SMEs. Lower tariffs mean a cheaper imported business input which in turn, means more support for competitiveness and for increased profitability for small businesses.

JAEPA is one of three bilateral trade agreements Australia has concluded with our North Asian trading partners which will provide major market access gains for Australian exporters. The Korea-Australia FTA entered into force on 12 December 2014, and the Government is working towards entry of the China FTA by the end of 2015.

We want Australian to be the best place to build and grow a business. That is why we are working to ensure our SMEs to have every opportunity to expand their operations into offshore markets.

Austrade, the Government’s export promotion agency, provides valuable advice on opportunities overseas. Support for SMEs seeking export opportunities is also available via the Export Finance Insurance Corporation (EFIC) and the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) programme.

Australian SMEs are encouraged to use a new step-by-step guide to accessing preferential tariffs on goods trade with Japan. The guide is available at: www.dfat.gov.au/fta/jaepa/fact-sheets/guide-to-using-jaepa-to-export-and-import-goods.html