SA needs robust strategy for Japanese trade

South Australia requires a robust strategy for international trade with Japan as the Japan- Australia Economic Partnership Agreement takes effect today.

While the prime focus of South Australia’s international trade in recent years has been on India and China, the State’s exports to Japan have experienced an $8.6 million decline in the year to November 2014.

Shadow Minister for Investment and Trade Tim Whetstone said the Weatherill Labor Government must develop a targeted trade strategy to improve the State’s exports to Japan, a country with a population of 127 million people and an economy climbing towards $5 trillion.

“South Australia’s exports to Japan dropped to $605.9 million in the year to November 2014, totalling less than 5 per cent of the state’s total outbound trade,” Mr Whetstone said.

“There is currently great untapped export potential between South Australia and Japan and this will be enhanced by the Economic Partnership Agreement coming into force.

“The Japanese-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement will assist South Australian exporters to provide further high quality goods and services that cater to demand from Japanese markets.

“However, to realise this potential and maximise Japanese trade and investment, South Australia needs a robust international engagement strategy.”

Mr Whetstone said the Weatherill Labor Government must also be willing to invest in funding for region specific programs designed to increase exports.

“South Australian businesses will require greater assistance than what is currently available to take advantage of the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement,” Mr Whetstone said.

“Maximising international trade and investment market participation is crucial to creating jobs and growing businesses, and capitalising on these economic partnerships is a key factor.”