5th August, 1963 : Australia and Japan signed an historic new trade agreement in Tokyo today that will pave the way for a much greater exchange of goods between the two countries. It is expected that Australia will be able to sell Japan more wool, wheat, sugar, dairy products and other goods in return for its decision to waive the right under GATT rules to restrict Japanese imports. In so doing, it has recognised Japan as a full member of the tariff agreement. Japanese officials said the two countries were natural partners as their economies were largely complementary. Japan will now more readily be able to expert heavy industry goods to Australia, something that has not been altogether welcomed by Australian industry spokesmen.

australia-and-japan-flag[Fifty years later Japan was Australia’s second-largest trading partner: In 2013, Australia’s major exports to Japan included LNG (estimated at approximately $14 billion), coal ($13.7 billion), iron ore ($9.6 billion), beef ($1.4 billion), and copper ores and concentrates ($1.3 billion). Japan was Australia’s largest export market for beef, fish, fruit and vegetable juices, animal feed, coal, liquefied propane and butane, aluminium, transmission shafts, dairy products and natural gas.

On the other side of the trade ledger, in 2013, Japan was Australia’s third-largest source of imports. Major imports from Japan included passenger vehicles ($6.7 billion), refined petroleum ($3.4 billion), goods vehicles ($1.2 billion), and rubber tyres, treads and tubes ($0.7 billion).

Total bilateral trade in services in 2013 was valued at about $4.3 billion, mostly in the recreational travel, transport and education sectors. Services exports were worth $2.0 billion and services imports were valued at $2.3 billion.“ ]

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