Japan pact falls short: farmers

Farmers have reacted coolly to the Australia- Japan free trade agreement, arguing it fails to deliver on key commodities while delaying some benefits for years.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the deal he signed with Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe would provide substantial benefits ranging from agriculture to general investment.

But the Australian Sugar Alliance said the deal was as disappointing as the 2004 FTA with the US, which excluded sugar altogether. Chairman of the alliance's trade committee, Paul Schembri, said the tariff on the sugar shipped from Australia to Japan would stay the same at 70 per cent.

Labor trade spokeswoman Penny Wong said the long lead times for cuts in tariffs on many products was a major shortcoming.

Independent Senator Nick Xenophon said he would vote against the Japan and South Korea FTAs if not enough time was set aside for workers in the car sector to move into other areas. Both deals include cuts to the remaining tariffs.

Shane Wright

The West Australian

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