Japan FTA no big deal for tuna

WHILE several of Australia's major industries are set to benefit from the recently announced free trade agreement with Japan, Port Lincoln's tuna exports are not likely to be one of them.

While several of Australia's major industries are set to benefit from the recently announced free trade agreement with Japan, Port Lincoln's tuna exports are not likely to be one of them.

While several of Australia's major industries are set to benefit from the recently announced free trade agreement with Japan, Port Lincoln's tuna exports are not likely to be one of them.

Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association chief executive Brian Jeffriess, speaking from Korea, said the outcome of the FTA with Japan was "not good" for the tuna trade, and that Japan wanted to protect its domestic tuna market.

"The current tariff of 3.5 per cent will be phased out over the next 10 years.

"We know Japan took a very strong position that it wanted the phasing period to be the maximum time to protect its domestic industry.

"Every other seafood will be phased out over seven years, to my knowledge."

He said those in the industry understood the government's difficult position.

"We understand that there were a lot of wider issues in the tuna outcome, and how difficult it is for the government.

"The fact is that Japan desperately wants to protect its own industry and nothing would change that."

Mr Jeffriess said in the international tuna trade there was no level playing field.

"The Australian government tried its best but could not change that reality."

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