Japan market snapshot
- GDP: US$5.9640 trillion (2012)
- GDP per capita: US$46,736 (2012)
- GDP growth: 2.0 per cent (2012)
- Population: 127.6 million (2012)
- Trade with Australia: AU$71.1 billion (2012)
About the Australia-Japan Free Trade Agreement negotiations
The Australian and Japanese economies are highly complementary, with the two countries cooperating closely to enhance the trade and investment relationship. Japan is a vital and long-standing export market for Australian business, a reliable supplier of high-quality finished goods, and a key source of investment to the Australian economy.
Negotiations on the Australia-Japan Free Trade Agreement commenced in April 2007 following the conclusion of a joint government study on the feasibility of a bilateral FTA.
Japan released a new Basic Policy on Comprehensive Economic Partnerships in November 2010 which makes clear the Japanese Government is seeking greater engagement and economic integration with the region as a means of revitalising its economy.
Key interests and benefits
- An agreement that liberalised trade in goods would increase economic growth, trade, investment and employment in both countries. It would also foster structural reform and improve productivity.
- An agreement could assist to strengthen food trade relations, helping Japan realise its food security objectives and providing export opportunities for Australia.
- Liberalisation and facilitation of trade in services measures, to improve business mobility and provide for improved recognition of qualifications, would create new opportunities for Australian and Japanese services exporters.
- An agreement which liberalised and facilitated investment, including in the energy and resources sector, would attract more investment in both directions and be consistent with Japan’s objective of promoting inward FDI and contribute further to Australia’s economic growth.
Map of Japan - quick facts
A hotspot for Australian investment. Some 30 Australian companies have invested around $300 million in the local tourism industry.
Following a long period of isolation, Japan's Yokohama port was one of the first to be opened to foreign trade in 1859.
The first shipment of 187 bales of Australian wool arrived here in 1890. The wool was made into uniforms for the army and railway workers.
Government committed to concluding negotiations
There is commitment on both sides to deliver, as soon as possible, an agreement that builds our trade and supports both our economies.
The last formal negotiating round was held from 13-15 June 2012 in Tokyo. However, many intersessional meetings have been held since.
Negotiations over the past year have been intensive and good progress has been made. Many issues have been resolved but the market access and investment package is still being finalised.
We welcome input on issues of relevance to the Australia-Japan FTA negotiations. For further information, please email JapanFTA@dfat.gov.au.
Sixteenth round of negotiations – 13-15 June 2012
The sixteenth round of negotiations on the Australia-Japan Free Trade Agreement was held in Tokyo from 13-15 June 2012.
In this round, good progress was made in areas such as Trade in Goods, Customs Procedures, Rules of Origin, Energy and Mineral Resources, Food Supply, Trade in Services, Investment, Dispute Settlement, Competition Policy and Intellectual Property.
Fifteenth round of negotiations – 23-27 April 2012
The fifteenth round of negotiations on the Australia-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held in Canberra from 23-27 April 2012.
In this round, positive and encouraging progress was made across the broad spectrum of FTA issues including Trade in Goods, Technical Barriers to Trade, Sanitary and Phytosanitary issues, Services, Investment and Legal issues.
Fourteenth round of negotiations – 14-17 February 2012
The fourteenth round of negotiations on the Australia-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held in Tokyo from 14-17 February 2012.
Thirteenth round of negotiations - 20-22 December 2011
The thirteenth round of negotiations on the Australia-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held in Canberra from 20-22 December 2011.
Twelfth round of negotiations – 7-10 February 2011
The twelfth round of negotiations on the Australia-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held in Tokyo from 7-10 February 2011.
Eleventh round of negotiations – 19-23 April 2010
The eleventh round of negotiations on the Australia-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held in Canberra from 19-23 April 2010. In five days over 50 sessions were held. Steady progress was made across the negotiations with both sides continuing to engage in a constructive and positive spirit. The eleventh round marked the first substantive discussion on chapters on food supply and improvement of the business environment. Japan welcomed Australia’s agreement to include these chapters in the FTA.
Tenth round of negotiations – 17-25 November 2009
The tenth round of negotiations on the Australia-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held in Tokyo from 17-25 November. Services and investment discussions focused on further addressing outstanding issues in chapter texts. Much of the text of the trade in services chapter and the movement of natural persons chapter (covering temporary entry of business people into Australia or Japan for work purposes) is agreed. We continued to negotiate chapters on financial services and telecommunications, again underlining our strong commercial interest in these areas. We made further progress on the investment chapter, but a few difficult issues remain, including Japan’s request for Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions.
Ninth round of negotiations – 27-31 July 2009
The ninth round of negotiations on the Australia-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held in Canberra from 27 to 31 July. Discussions on services and investment focused on further development of chapter texts, while the two sides continued to exchange information and broaden their understanding of each other's initial services and market access requests. Australia continued to signal the importance of achieving commercially meaningful outcomes, particularly in our priority interests of financial services, telecommunications, legal services and education.
Eighth round of negotiations – 9-13 March 2009
The eighth round of negotiations on the Australia-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held in Tokyo from 9 to 13 March. The focus of the round was on initial services and investment market access requests. Although both sides gave preliminary responses only, the atmosphere was constructive. Australia continued to signal the priority of financial services, telecommunications, legal services and education.
Seventh round of negotiations – 27-31 October 2008
The seventh round of negotiations on the Australia-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held in Canberra from 27 to 31 October. The two sides continued discussions concerning offer and request issues related to market access in services and investment. The clarifications and information received as part of this process over the past two rounds have now allowed the two sides to agree that formal market access requests will be exchanged at the next round of negotiations.
Sixth round of negotiations – 28 July-1 August 2008
The sixth round of negotiations on the Australia-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held in Tokyo from 28 July to 1 August 2008. Overall, we have continued to make progress on the various chapter texts and, have now also discussed initial offers on services and investment.
Fifth round of negotiations – 28 April-1 May 2008
The fifth round of negotiations on the Australia-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held in Canberra from 28 April to 1 May 2008. Notably, the two sides exchanged initial market access offers on services and investment at this round. Following the formal exchange of initial services and investment offers, Each side took the opportunity to seek details about each other’s offer and to clarify particular provisions. Australia and Japan reached a good understanding of the quality and character of each other’s offer, and we will do further analysis before the next negotiating round. Australia welcomed the initial Japanese offer, which was consistent with the highest level of commitments it has made in previous FTAs, although we noted that there were some sectors, such as education and training, financial services, and telecommunications, where we would ask for further opening.
Fourth round of negotiations – 25-29 February 2008
The fourth round of negotiations on the Australia-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held in Tokyo from 25 to 29 February. This round marked the commencement of market access negotiations on goods. Australia and Japan exchanged initial requests and offers on trade in goods and held preliminary discussion on the requests and offers. Japan’s offer had many exclusions in agriculture, including on many items of interest to Australia. Japan also argued the case for its sensitivities on a small number of manufactured goods. We made clear to Japan that its offer would need to be improved significantly.
Third round of negotiations – 5-8 November 2007
The third negotiating round for the Australia-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held in Canberra from 5 to 8 November. The round continued substantive discussion on all areas of the FTA that might form chapters of the agreement. Twenty sessions were held over four days with exchanges of information or discussion of draft texts. As with the first two rounds, the talks were positive and constructive and made good progress. Discussion underlined that Australia and Japan had few areas where objectives differed, even if there were different drafting approaches in some areas. Next steps were agreed in all areas with further information exchange and counterproposals on draft text or elements papers to be produced intersessionally. Good progress was also made in preparation for the commencement of market access negotiations.
Second round of negotiations – 6-10 August 2007
The second negotiating round for the Australia-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held in Tokyo from 6 to 10 August. As with the first round, the talks were positive and constructive. The round commenced substantive discussion on all areas of the FTA that we agreed at the first round. Eighteen sessions were held over five days. Good progress was made. In all of the areas we agreed next steps with Japan which would see text tabled on many of the possible chapters of the FTA at the third round.
First round of negotiations – 23-24 April 2007
The first round of the Australia-Japan Free Trade Agreement negotiations was held on 23 and 24 April in Canberra. The talks got off to a very good start. The Japanese side was led by Masaharu Kohno, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs. The Japanese delegation included senior representatives their key ministries, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Ministry of Finance. The Australian delegation was also a senior one and drawn from more than nine Australian Government agencies.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) continues to welcome submissions from individuals and groups on issues relevant to the negotiation of an FTA with Japan.
Submissions need not be lengthy, and may build on or refer to submissions made during the joint government study on a bilateral FTA. Authors of submissions should advise whether they authorise their name and/or the text of their submission to be posted on this website.
Submissions may be lodged electronically to JapanFTA@dfat.gov.au or by post to the following address:
Japan FTA Coordinator
Free Trade Agreement Division
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
RG Casey Building
John McEwen Crescent
Barton ACT 0221
For more information on doing business in Japan and about specific export opportunities, go to the Austrade website. As well as country-specific information, the Austrade website also has a database that can be searched by industry.
If you have a specific inquiry, please contact DFAT's Free Trade Agreement Division:
- Email: JapanFTA@dfat.gov.au
- Fax: (+61 2) 6261 2187
- Japan FTA Coordinator
Free Trade Agreement Division
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
R.G. Casey Building
John McEwen Crescent
BARTON ACT 0221
For media enquiries, please call DFAT Media Liaison Section (+61 2) 6261 1555.