Japan and Australia sign off on trade ahead of new Pacific deal

THE JAPANESE and Australian governments finalised the foundations of their free trade deal yesterday, ahead of the much broader Trans-Pacific Partnership (known as TPP).

Negotiations for the deal have dragged on, having first begun under a previous Australian government in 2007.

The deal ends the remaining major tariffs between the two countries: levies by the Australian government on Japanese cars and by the Japanese government on Australian beef are among those that the agreement will sweep away.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe travels to Australia in the summer, and the treaty is expected to be officially signed then. Tony Abbott, the Prime Minister of Australia, was in Japan yesterday.

The wider TPP talks are still ongoing, with negotiations between the US and Japanese governments starting again this week. Since the beginning of the year, the states have run into difficulties in agreeing on levels of market access included in the prospective deal.