Joint Study for Enhancing Economic Relations between Japan and Australia, including the Feasibility or Pros and Cons of a Free Trade Agreement
The relationship between Japan and Australia is now stronger than ever. It is based on shared democratic values, mutual respect, deep friendship and shared strategic views. It is characterised as a comprehensive strategic relationship encompassing political/security, economic and people-to-people relations. The two countries have been cooperating closely to enhance such economic relationship. Based on the Trade and Economic Framework signed by Prime Minister John Howard of Australia and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan in July 2003, various works have been conducted centring on the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) led by senior officials. These works include the Joint Study to examine the costs and benefits of the liberalization of trade in goods and services and investment between Australia and Japan. The report of this Joint Study was completed in April 2005.
In April 2005, then Prime Ministers Howard and Koizumi agreed to commence a joint study on various policy options to enhance economic relations between Japan and Australia, including the feasibility or pros and cons of a free trade agreement, building on the above mentioned work and taking into consideration both sides' sensitivities as recognised by the leaders. The Study Group established undertook the Study under the supervision of the JCC. The first Joint Study Group meeting was held on 2 November 2005 in Tokyo.