Spring 2018 Update

A recent report from the Australia Bureau of Statistics on International trade in goods listed over A$2 billion of exports to Japan from Victoria for the financial year 2017-18.

This not only represents a 35 per cent increase on the previous year but is also the largest value of Victorian exports to Japan in over ten years.

Exports that have traditionally done well for Victoria showed strong growth including dairy, meat, liquefied propane and aluminium but it was also encouraging to see in the last financial year that value add goods such edible products and preparations, transmission parts and shafts, medicaments, and rotating electric plant and parts recorded good increases.

Fruit and nuts performed well for the same period growing 29 per cent to $54m.

Since agreement was reached on protocols for exporting table grapes in 2014, the Victorian Government has been supporting industry promotions of Australian table grapes in Japan. Exports grew from 16 containers in 2014 to 679 in 2018. The Victorian Government also continues to support the promotion of citrus through the Taste of Australia program.

While the growth trend in exports to Japan is good news for Victoria, the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, which is likely to come into force during 2019, will increase competition as tariffs come down on EU cheese, wine and meat. It is also not out of the question that pressure from the US will ultimately lead to some bilateral concessions on trade from the Japanese.

In view of this, the time is not right to take the pedal off promoting Victorian exports to Japan. The Victorian Government is continuing to support exporters through participation in industry programs delivered by Meat and Livestock Australia, Dairy Australia and Horticulture Innovation Australia. The Victorian Government will again lead a trade mission to Japan’s largest trade show, Foodex, in March 2019.

In other sectors, the Victorian Government will continue to work closely with Austrade in areas such as the life sciences and international education.

Competition in Japan is fierce and the Japanese are very exacting in their requirements but for export ready companies who have a unique offering and are prepared to do the hard yards, the time is right and Japan can be a rewarding market.

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