Australia’s seafood industry is one of the winners from the recently finalised Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Japan.
The agreement means tariffs on rock lobsters and abalone will be immediately eliminated or reduced, while for Atlantic salmon and tuna, Australia’s largest seafood export to Japan, tariffs will be phased out over 10 years.
Nathan Maxwell-McGinn, Chair of the Australian Seafood Trade Advisory Group (STAG), noted that Japan is the Australian seafood industry’s second biggest trading partner and commended the Minister and the government officials who had worked on the agreement for achieving such a positive outcome.
“Free Trade Agreements and Economic Partnerships such as this one provide our industry with access to global markets and the certainty to invest in the ongoing future of our industry,” said Mr Maxwell-McGinn. “Australia is uniquely positioned to supply high value seafood to the world, so supporting the government’s efforts to conclude free trade with major trading partners is our priority,” he added.
Jayne Gallagher, General Manager Trade and Market Development with the Australian Seafood Cooperative Research Centre Ltd, highlighted the seafood industry as one of Australia’s secret success stories. “The industry has been working quietly and consistently for the past 30 years in China, Japan and other Asian markets, spearheading Australia’s reputation for premium, high quality food,” said Ms Gallagher. “Now these tariff barriers are removed in Japan, the industry’s market development efforts can focus on building the preference for Australian seafood products – we can now compete on a more level playing field,” said Ms Gallagher.
Wayne Haggar, STAG Vice Chair and Chairman of the Abalone Association of Australasia Ltd, noted that Japan remains a major market for the industry. “We hope the removal of tariffs will further stimulate demand giving Japanese consumers the benefit of purchasing our premium quality seafood at a more affordable price,” said Mr Haggar.
Ross Hodge, Executive Officer with Australian Southern Rocklobster Limited stated that a recent research project regarding ‘Market Diversification Opportunities’ for Australian Southern Rock Lobster rated Japan in the top four on the Market Potential Index for possible increased future trade. “This important agreement and the improving Japanese economy will enable exporters of Australian Southern Rock Lobster to leverage from these research findings,” Mr Hodge said.”
Dean Lisson, Executive Chair of the Abalone Council Australia and currently on a market development visit to Hong Kong, noted the immediate tariff reduction on Abalone entering Japan will make a real difference. “Australian Wild Abalone once had a thriving market in Japan and now, thanks to this agreement, Abalone is back on the menu!” said Mr Lisson.
The Seafood Trade Advisory Group looks forward to working with the government and continuing the push for improved trade outcomes and achieving greater access to other key seafood markets.