Historic Trade Agreement with Japan signals bright future for North


The successful conclusion of the Governments Free Trade Agreement negotiations with Japan was great news for Northern Australia, North Queensland based Senator Ian Macdonald said today.

"There is good news for primary producers across Queensland and the whole of Northern Australia", he said.

And Northerners will get cheaper cars around $1000 on family vehicles and even more for the huge number of northern users of Japanese-made 4WD so essential to life in the north.

The Key Outcomes of the Japan Australia Economic Partnership Agreement were released this morning and included significant advantages for Northern Australian producers of beef, sugar, fish, fruit and vegetables and dairy products.

There is some relief for the Norths sugar industry but I am disappointed that it is relatively minimal.

The finer details of the agreement are still being determined, and once completed and signed the full agreement will be published.

But I will continue to fight for a better deal for our sugar producers recognising of course that there are significant forces in Japan resisting free-er trade in this commodity.

Sugar did not do well out of the US free trade agreement and I am determined that an industry which has contributed so much to the north over the last century gets a better deal.

Sugar has a great future in the north but it needs a leveller playing field.

Exporters of beef, sugar, horticulture, wine, and seafood will benefit from preferential access to the Japanese market and tariffs will be bound at zero for wool, cotton, lamb and beer.

Australias beef exporters will be big winners from the agreement. As the first significant beef exporter to secure preferential access to Japan, Australia will have an immediate advantage over its major competitors in a market worth $1.4 billion per annum to Australian producers. While northern exports to Japan may not be great, any increase in sales of Australian beef generally benefits the whole industry.

It is also good news for our fishing industries in the North which will get much improved and preferential access to Japanese markets.

The Senator applauded the hard work and determination of Trade Minister the Hon Andrew Robb in achieving this excellent result.

"The Labor nay-sayers who said the Coalition government would fail to significantly progress international trade have, of course, been proven wrong."

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