Newsletter Update 11
Australia-Japan Free Trade Agreement‚ Eleventh Negotiating Round
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.
Services and Investment
The trade in services chapter is largely agreed, except for a few issues including the application of the chapter to subsidies.
The movement of natural persons chapter (covering temporary entry of business people into Australia or Japan for work purposes) is largely agreed, although some difficult issues remain.
Constructive discussion occurred on the telecommunications chapter, particularly on key access and interconnection provisions.
Further progress was made on the investment chapter. Outstanding issues include performance requirements and minimum standard of treatment obligations, and the inclusion of an Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism.
In the discussion of services and investment market access requests, Australia underlined the importance of achieving commercially meaningful outcomes, particularly in our priority commercial interests of financial services, telecommunications, legal services and education.
There was no session on financial services at this round, as relevant Japanese officials were unavailable.
Goods (Agricultural and Non Agricultural)
In the goods market access session, both sides continued to explore respective goods requests and offers.
On agricultural market access, detailed commodity-specific discussions continued this round covering wheat and sugar. Australia explained its significant interests in improving the market access conditions for these products. Japan reiterated its deep sensitivities across its agricultural sector.
On energy and mineral resources and food supply, Japan continued to explain its proposals in this area.
Progress on narrowing outstanding issues occurred on chapters on trade in goods, trade remedies, rules of origin and customs procedures.
Legal, Institutional and Other Issues
Positive progress was made on government procurement, with discussions exploring ways to accommodate both sides’ national procurement systems.
In the first substantive discussion on improving the business environment, both sides confirmed their similar objectives. Australia underlined its interest in a simple and effective chapter with clear benefits for stakeholders.
Australia and Japan held constructive discussions on intellectual property, particularly on enforcement. The chapter is now well advanced.
Solid progress was made on dispute settlement, institutional issues, competition policy and electronic commerce with both sides making useful new text proposals to narrow differences.
We welcome input on issues of relevance to the Australia-Japan FTA negotiations. For further information, please email JapanFTA@dfat.gov.au.