Central QLD big winner with Japan Free Trade Agreement
CENTRAL Queensland beef producers are expected to be the big winners out of the free trade agreement struck with Japan this week.
Professor John Rolfe, an economist at CQUniversity, said Queensland accounted for about 60% of Australia's $5billion beef export market.
Prof Rolfe said the majority of that came from CQ.
"We're the region in Queensland that will benefit the most," he said.
"Northern Queensland doesn't produce export meat for Japan, while southern Queensland is more weighted towards domestic.
"It's good news, but producers won't see an immediate jump (in profits), that will be determined by supply and demand."
Japan is Australia's biggest customer for beef exports, taking about a third of products.
The agreement, signed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, will see tariffs on exports decrease.
Before the new agreement was made, Australian producers were paying a tariff of 38.5% to the Japanese government.
Prof Rolfe said in dollar figures, that meant the beef industry was paying $540million.
The 8% drop in the tariff in the first year is expected to save $73million.
But Prof Rolfe said that was a minor benefit compared to the competitive edge the agreement will give Australia over other countries like the US.
He described the Australian Government's prediction that the size of the Australian market will double in 20 years as "bold", since the US was at present also negotiating a better trade deal with Japan.