A major new trade agreement between Australia and Japan could help open up a new avenue in Asia for Australian wine.
The deal – which was seven years in the making – was struck today,
Monday 7 April, between the two Pacific powers and will see Japan
eliminate tariffs for Australian wool, cotton, lamb and beer and give
“preferential treatment” to beef, wine, cheese and seafood among other
Australia will remove tariffs on Japanese cars, electronics and household appliances in return.
According to the Financial Times, the deal will give Australian farmers, “vast new access to one of Asia’s biggest markets”.
It will be welcome news to Australian winemakers who have seen sales
in China, previously heralded as a powerhouse market, fall flat.
One winemaker recently told the drinks business that China had not proved to be the “El Dorado” so many had hoped for.
Business Insider Australia reported that tariffs on bottled, sparkling and bulk wines would be “eliminated” over the next seven years.
Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, is now en route to South
Korea to sign a free trade agreement in Seoul, which is broadly similar
to that just struck with Japan.
The FT continued that the deal comes as the US is struggling to “break the stalemate” over a similar deal between the two countries.
As Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has previously said he would
protect five “sacred” agricultural areas from foreign competition –
including beef and rice – the concession to Australian beef imports will
“raise eyebrows” in Washington.