Comments of the week: Apr 07-12

Not sure if anyone's read the fine print ... Done like a dinner again ... Well done team Aussie

AUSTRALIA ‘broke through’ the formidable tariff barriers protecting Japanese agriculture to secure a deal hailed by both governments as the most significant advancement in their economic relationship since the 1957 post-war trade pact – but while some welcomed the news, other readers were quick to note the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement was a long way from the free trade deal producers were banking on:

Chick Olsson: What fantastic news for Aussie agriculture. Well done team Aussie

Farmer Joe: Be realistic, it is hardly free or fair trade. Talk about a glass one eighth full type of self endorsement! In 15 years Japan will be knocking down our door trying to secure supply anyway if the IPCC is correct.

Qlander: Chilled beef is the big one and a 6pc cut is good. However the real story here is Australian will drop all tariffs on Japanese imports while Japan will take 15 years, to get tariffs on Australian imports down to 23.5pc. So for the majority of Australian beef producers it will never happen!

Gecko: Sacrificial beef! How big is the Japanese beef industry that needs such high protection? Maybe not that big, So why the high tariff? Who are the Japanese protecting? (US beef?) Their government is denying access, at a cheaper cost, for the best beef in the world. Why?

VT: While the reduction in tariffs is good news, the assumption is that this is going to lead to an increase in beef consumption. I'll be interested to see how this flows through to an increase in farm gate prices. Too often everyone but the farmer wins in these situations.

LTF: Done like a dinner again. We wait 15 years for a crumb from under Japan's table for agriculture, but give away every bargaining chip we had on day one!

Territory Paul: Wonderful news, Well done Tony and others, 8pc on beef in the first year should make us more than competitive with the US and it only gets better from there

leon tanner: Although the deal for Japan is much better than the deal for Australia, it improves our current position and puts us in a better position than anything Gillard and KRudd ever did for agriculture or Australia for that matter, even if that is a poor yard stick to measure any government by.

Philip Downie: Yep 50pc decrease in tariff over 18 yrs while we let them get 100pc decrease over three yrs max for everything as a beef producer I can hardly wait. Who writes these headlines LNP, lackies? Should read: Aust slashes tariffs, Japan lowers theirs.

Realist: When politicians negotiate a trade deal it is political not commercial. For beef exporters to acclaim this as a breakthrough is naive as it will take eighteen years to reduce to 20 per cent on beef and most graziers will be dead by then. To exclude rice and other rural exports and shaft the sugar industry is discraceful. This trade deal is nothing but a farce.

cv: Not sure if anyone's bothered to read the fine print, but the Japanese negotiated a clause whereby their corporations can sue the Aust government if the government puts in place policies that the Japanese deem will hurt sales of their products, if they win, the tax payer pays the bill. We have essentially given up sovereignty in this FTA.

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13/04/2014 3:15:03 PM

Abbott wanted a deal at any price, and boy did we paid a price. A slight win for beef exporters, a loss for everyone else.
Comments of the weekA selection of the comments that made us think - and, in some cases, chuckle.


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