Japanese companies could sue Australian governments under clauses that should be included in the Australia-Japan free trade agreement, writes Peter Martin for the Sydney Morning Herald. URAPA is Australia`s second bilateral trade agreement with a major trading partner in North Asia, following the signing of a free trade agreement (FTA) with Korea in April 2014. A free trade agreement with China is being negotiated. Together, these three economies account for more than half of Australia`s exports. This revolutionary agreement will significantly improve Australian businesses` access to the world`s third-largest economy. Dr Patricia Ranald was appointed on Friday, March 21, on RN Breakfast on the link between the proposed Japan-Australia Free Trade Agreement and the negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement. www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/japan-free-trade. This publication was made before the current government The Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) entered into force on January 15, 2015. Japan is the world`s third-largest economy and has a long-standing and important trade relationship with Queensland.
It is Queensland`s second-largest trading partner, with goods exports worth $8.8 billion, or nearly 20% of Queensland`s total exports. JAEPA is japan`s most liberalizing bilateral trade agreement ever, giving Australian exporters, importers, investors and producers a significant advantage over their international competitors. It will provide unprecedented market access and a competitive advantage for Australian agricultural exports, many of which reside in Queensland. The Wire reports on the free trade agreement between Japan and Australia, including an interview with AFTINET organizer Dr. Patricia Ranald. Australia`s negotiations for an agreement with Japan began in 2007 under the Howard government.  In April 2014, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott led a trade delegation to Japan, South Korea and China. The three economies accounted for more than half of Australia`s total trade.
 During the Japanese leg, Abbott was received by Emperor Akihito and secured the key elements of a free trade agreement with Shinzo Abe`s government.  The article raises concerns about the inclusion in the agreement of controversial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clauses and contains quotes from the AFTINETs Convener, Mr. Patricia Ranald. Some fear the trade deal due to a lack of transparency, including rumours that there is a provision that would make it easier for Japanese companies to sue the Australian government. ABC National Radio PM reports….