Negotiations towards a Free Trade Agreement with Japan began in 2007 and an agreement on the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) was announced on April 7, 2014 and signed on 8 July 2014 in Canberra.
The Japan-Australia agreement does not include the controversial right for foreign investors to sue governments (called Investor-State Dispute Settlement or ISDS), which is a controversial issue in Australia, largely due to a widespread campaign against it, led by AFTINET . However, it does have a provision allowing for a review of this, and a compulsory review is required if Australia signs other agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which include ISDS.
AFTINET remains critical of the lack of transparency around the agreement, the text of which was not released until after it was signed and after a summary statement was released by the government, resulting in a splash of positive media activity despite the actual text still being kept secret. AFTINET is calling for a more transparent parliamentary process for trade agreements in the future.
The JAEPA is currently under review by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties. Submissions to this inquiry are open until August 15, 2014.
You can view the text of the agreement on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s website.