Japan FTA merits are lost in translation

Views on the Australia-Japan FTA are sharply divided, but deciding if it's a net win for Australia puts the spotlight on bilateral agreements and their impact on the development of regional trade blocs.

The Australia-Japan free-trade agreement clinched by Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Tokyo on Monday night was initially greeted with such applause by Australian news media that one might very well have suspected we'd entered a cheese-led export recovery.

Yes, cheese exports, worth a whopping $372 million, will now be duty free. Why, that's nearly double the value of “animal oils and fats” ($211 million) that we export to Singapore, according to DFAT figures.



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