Australian-Japanese trade deal steering us in the right direction

A NEW trading agreement between Australia and Japan has been welcomed by workers in the car retail and beef industries in Orange.

Tariffs on export beef are set to drop from 38.5 per cent to 19.5 per cent for frozen beef and 23.5 per cent for chilled beef during the next 15 years.

The largest cuts will come in the first year, with 8 per cent to be cut from frozen beef and 6 per cent to come off chilled beef.

McCarron Cullinane director Lindsay Fryer said any support was positive.

“We would like to see a zero tariff, but it will mean we can export more beef into Japan,” he said.

“Any improvement is good for the beef industry.”

Mr Fryer said about 40 per cent of cattle coming through the saleyard was eventually exported, particularly heavy cattle.

Fellow director Darren Connick said the Japanese preferred higher quality cuts.

“That’s where there’ll be more competition,” he said.

“The more money is available at the top, the more farmers will spend for the restocking calves - it’s a win-win situation.”

Despite $1500 in tariffs removed from Japanese cars imported into Australia, Orange Toyota general manager Ron Palmer said consumers would be unlikely to see a price drop.

“[The manufacturer] will be more likely to chuck in a reverse camera or something like that, they don’t like to show a reduction in prices,” he said.

“Corollas are the same price as 20 years ago, but they’ve got a lot more gear in them.”

Mr Palmer did not expect a change in sales as a result of the free trade agreement.

“It’s a good thing because people will get better value for money, but we don’t want people thinking prices will go down,” he said.

However, member for Calare John Cobb disagreed on car price movements.

“A car that wants to beat a better vehicle will only be able to do that by being cheaper,” he said. 

Mr Cobb said the agreement was not perfect, but it would deliver benefits, particularly the removal of 15 per cent tariffs on wine exports during the next seven years.

“It’s a breakthrough in a market that made no apologies for protecting its own industry,” he said.

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