Monday, April 7, 2014

Australia beats Canada to Japanese beef market

Australia has gained a huge competitive advantage over Canadian beef exporters.

While Canada is negotiating a new trade agreement with Japan, Australia has announced its deal that features a Japanese reduction of its beef import tariff from 38.5 to 19.5 per cent in the first year.

Australia is the first major agricultural exporting economy to conclude such a liberalizing agreement with Japan, said Andrew Robb, Australia’s minister for trade and investment.

Australia already exports about $1.4 billion worth of beef to Japan every year. It’s Australia’s biggest agricultural export to Japan.

The trade deal also grants Australia duty-free access cheese and a wide array of fruit, vegetables and nuts.

The cheese deal will benefit Saputo Inc. of Montreal because it recently bought Warrambool, a major Australian dairy processor.

Tariffs on Austalia’s exports of canned products such as tomatoes, peaches and pears, as well as fruit and vegetable juices, will also be eliminated.

Australia eliminated tariffs on Japan’s cars, household appliances and electronics.

That will benefit Australian consumers, but increase competition for Australian companies in those businesses.

Access was also eased for Japanese financial, education, telecommunications and legal services.