Japan - Australia FTA

Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement

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.

Coalition secret talks to add ISDS to Japan FTA

June 8, 2016: The Japan-Australia FTA had no provisions for ISDS, but there was a clause that would trigger negotiations for ISDS if Australia made another agreement containing ISDSThe Guardian reports that the China-Australia  FTA has triggered secret talks to add ISDS to the Japan FTA. These have now been interrupted by the early election, but if the Coalition government wins they expect to complete the talks after the election, with the result only made public after the event. ALP policy opposes ISDS and pledges to review ISDS in existing agreements. 

Concern Australia could get mauled by Japan free trade ISDS clause

Japanese companies would be able to sue Australian governments under clauses expected to be included in the Australia-Japan free trade agreement, writes Peter Martin for the Sydney Morning Herald.

The article outlines concerns that controversial Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clauses may be included in the agreement and features quotes by AFTINET's Convener, Dr Patricia Ranald

Read the full article here.