Japan Australia Economic Partnership Agreement

Newsletter Update 10

Australia-Japan Free Trade Agreement‚ Tenth Negotiating Round

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.

We agreed to accelerate the process of exchanging information on our respective initial services and investment market access requests.  Australia reiterated the importance of achieving commercially meaningful outcomes, particularly in our priority commercial interests of financial services, telecommunications, legal services and education.

On goods, discussions at the tenth round focussed on market access issues and Japan’s proposed energy and mineral resources chapter. Other goods-related negotiating sessions were held over to the next round. 

In the goods market access session, we had further discussion on our respective goods offers.  On agricultural market access, detailed commodity-specific discussions continued, and Australia explained its significant interests in improving the market access conditions in key areas, such as pork, wine and horticulture (focussing on horticultural products not covered at the ninth round). We also outlined our requests for liberalisation of poultry and forestry products. In response Japan reiterated its deep sensitivities across the agricultural sector. 

In the session on energy and mineral resources, Japan continued to explain its proposals in this area and welcomed Australia’s agreement to include a chapter on energy and mineral resources cooperation in the FTA.

A majority of provisions have now been agreed in a comprehensive intellectual property chapter, including general provisions, review processes, transparency, patents, trademarks, copyright, internet service providers and enforcement.

Positive progress was made on government procurement, with discussions focusing on finding language which reflected both sides' national procurement systems.

Constructive discussions were held on electronic commerce, including on provisions dealing with electronic authentication and paperless trading.

We also continued to make good progress on competition policy, dispute settlement and other legal and institutional issues.

We welcome input on issues of relevance to the Australia-Japan FTA negotiations. For further information, please email JapanFTA@dfat.gov.au.