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Australian horticulture industry welcomes Japan FTA tariff cuts

Australian horticultureAustralian horticulture industry has welcomed the Japan free-trade agreement tariff cuts which came into effect on Thursday.

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Japan is the second largest export destination for the local horticulture industry and is worth $56 million in 2013-14.

Under the agreement the 7.8 percent in-season tariff for table grapes will be eliminated over seven years, with an immediate reduction to 6.8 percent today and a further reduction to 5.9 percent in November.

The off-season grapes tariff of 17 percent will be cut over 10 years, with a reduction to 14.9 percent scheduled from March 1.

Australian Table Grape Association chief executive Jeff Scott said the tariff reduction came at the best time for the industry, which was reeling from poor domestic prices and the loss of key international market Vietnam.

Orange tariffs during the peak of Australia’s season, from June to September, were 16 percent and mandarin tariffs 17 percent, but both will be eliminated over 10 and 15 years respectively.

The 10 percent grapefruit tariff will be cut over five years.

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