Australia – Japan Free Trade Agreement: Three Ways to Grow Your Business in Japan

This week during Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s visit to Tokyo, a historic trade deal was struck – the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA). Japan is Australia’s second biggest trading partner and this agreement seeks to strengthen our economic ties. What you are probably wondering is what this agreement means for you and how you can take full advantage of Australia and Japan’s closer ties to drive business growth for your company.

The main points to take away from the agreement are:

  • Australian Beef exports to Japan – our biggest agricultural export to Japan, currently worth $1.4 billion will see a halving of the tariff on frozen beef from 38.5 per cent to 19.5 per cent, with substantial cuts in the first year.
  • A reduction or removal of a number of tariffs and quotas on household appliances, electronics, canned products, cheese, sugar, wine, vegetable and canola oils, chocolate and other agricultural products – giving Australian businesses better access to the Japanese market.
  • The removal of tariffs on Japanese cars – giving the Australian market better access to Japanese vehicles.


So what does this mean for you? Here are 3 ways that you can grow your business in Japan and take full advantage of this historic agreement – particularly if you are in the agricultural business.

1. Understand how the agreement impacts your business
Review the Key Outcomes document currently available as a media release through the Minister for Trade and Investment. Identify where there have been changes to your area of business and if necessary, investigate deeper into what this means for you. Speak to industry body’s that represent your industry and find out what their analysis of the agreement is. Do you see an opportunity for your business?

2. Create a strategy to get your products in front of the Japanese market
Speak with your management team about the ramifications of the agreement on your business and develop a strategy to increase your presence in Japan. This could mean entering the Japanese market if you currently do not service the market, or if you already service the market, this could mean adding additional resources (human resources, marketing resources etc.) to build your business in Japan. Consider who your buyers are in Japan and whether more accessible prices for your products will create elastic demand. Will the reduction or removal of quotas and tariffs create a large business opportunity for you?

3. Create a Multilingual Communications Plan for communicating with your audience in Japan
So you have decided to take advantage of Australia and Japan’s stronger ties. What now? Have you considered how you are going to communicate with a country that is predominately Japanese-speaking? Much of your marketing material will need to be localised into Japanese. Localisation is a combination of language translation and cultural adaption. For example, if you were translating from the Japanese word for “Footpath” into English (Australian) it would be “Footpath”. But if you were translating it into English (US), it would be “Sidewalk”. Localisation is the art of understanding both linguistic and cultural differences and creating a written product that makes sense in the destination country.

For Australian exporters entering Japan, you should engage a Japanese localisation expert
(typically a translation agency) to consult with you on your language requirements. Here at EthnoLink, we engage our clients in a strategy meeting to ascertain their language requirements and collaboratively work on their multilingual communications plan. This involves translation and localisation services. This ensures that all marketing material and legal documents, etc are fit for purpose in the Japanese market. This will ensure the best outcome for you when dealing in Japan, giving you the best chance of success, increasing revenue and dominating the Japanese market.

It is without doubt that this historic agreement offers fantastic opportunities for Australian businesses to grow in Japan – are you one of them? How do you plan on becoming a leading business in Japan?

The author of this blog, Costa Vasili is CEO of EthnoLink Language Services – Australia’s premier language services organisation. Costa is a nationally recognised thought leader in the Australian language services industry and consults to dozens of ASX100 businesses. A finalist in the Australian Start Up Awards – Services Category, Costa has established EthnoLink to be a go-to organisation for Australian businesses, particularly Australian Exporters.

April 8th, 2014|