The Cattle Council of Australia welcomes the finalisation of the Australian/Japan Free Trade Agreement (AJFTA) and reduction of beef tariffs following the Prime Minister’s announcement this evening.    Cattle Council of Australia President, Andrew Ogilvie, acknowledged the significance of the tariff reductions for Australian beef producers and acknowledged the work put into the finalisation of this FTA.

“The Prime Minister’s announcement this evening concludes seven years of negotiating between Australia and Japan,” Mr Ogilvie said. “Agreeing on a final deal, particularly given Japan’s sensitivities around beef, would have been an unenviable task.”

“The finalisation of the AJFTA will have benefits for both Australia and Japan; creating opportunities for increased Australian beef sales into Japan and also improving the affordability of beef to Japanese consumers.

“However, Cattle Council is disappointed that substantial tariffs still exist on Australian beef after the phase out period, unlike in previous free trade agreements, and also that different tariffs apply to chilled and frozen beef.

“Cattle Council understands the Australian Government achieved the best result that it could for the Australian beef industry, particularly as this is the first deal Japan has done with a major agricultural exporter.

“We hope that the AJFTA will bring opportunities for further liberalisation of agricultural trade into Japan, and specifically for beef, will result in tariffs eventually being eliminated and other impediments for trade removed.   Cattle Council will work to continue building relationships with Japanese beef producers in the coming months.

Under the AJFTA over a period of 18 years tariffs on frozen Australian beef entering Japan will drop from 38.5% to 19.5% and for chilled beef drop from 38.5% to 23.5% over 15 years.

Ends Contact: Mary Johnson, m. 0417 249 506