ITEMS in reputable Japanese media overnight suggesting Australia and Japan have reached agreement over the establishment of a Free Trade Agreement are false, the Federal Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade says.
A DFAT spokeswoman contacted by Beef Central this afternoon, who had seen the Japanese news clippings, said no trade agreement had yet been reached between the two countries.
“Nothing has been completed, in fact we have not even agreed yet on the date of our next meeting,” she said.
“We hoping to conclude the negotiations soon, and Australia is hoping to hold a meeting in the next couple of weeks, but no date has been set.”
Nor was there any guarantee that the next meeting would be the last.
“We’d always like to conclude an FTA as quickly as possible, and would never rule anything out, but we have not yet set the dates for the final meeting at all,” the DFAT spokeswoman said.
She said the Japanese media had appeared to have ‘gotten very excited’ about the parallel Trans-Pacific Partnership multi-lateral trade agreement discussions involving some 14 countries, and some of the recent press commentary suggesting an agreement had been reached appeared to be based on dialogue of the pro’s and con’s for Japan of doing an FTA with Australia.
While there was no specific reference to beef exports, agriculture was spoken of as a collective term, with protection emphasised.
“The messages was very garbled,” she said.
It is widely accepted that Japanese bureaucracy frequently issues small, often cryptic statements, which are often more about internal debate within Japan than any formal Government statement.