(Above: Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott)
John Winning, CEO of the Winning Group, owners of Winning Appliances, Appliances Online and BigBrownBox, has welcomed the free trade agreement sealed this week between the Japanese and Australia governments. Winning says his retailers will pass on any price decreases that result from this agreement, which will “strengthen and deepen” the relationship between the two nations.
“Winning Group welcomes the free trade agreement with Japan and will pass on any savings that come about as a result of the tariff cuts,” Winning said. “This should see shoppers enjoy improvements in pricing for Japanese brands including Sony, Panasonic, Sharp and NEC.”
“This is a positive move for Japanese brands, especially within the appliance sector, where there has been increasing competition from other Asian players, for example South Korea’s LG and Samsung.
“Whilst the savings for appliances and consumer electronics could be minimal in comparison to other products, the competitive nature of the sector means any discounts will be well received by consumers. This could also force other Asian brands to become more competitive.”
According to the Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the new partnership is “the most liberalising bilateral trade agreement that Japan has ever concluded, providing Australian exporters, importers, investors and producers a significant advantage over their international competitors. This groundbreaking agreement will significantly improve access to the world’s third-largest economy for Australian business.”
Richard Goyder, CEO of Wesfarmers, owners of Coles and other retail outlets, backed up Winning’s sentiments, saying the deal is, “Great for jobs and the economy. Japan is a very important market for Australia. It again reinforces Australia’s credentials as a trading nation”.
With 126 million people, Japan is the 10th biggest country in the world and its US $4.8 trillion GDP makes its economy the world’s fourth largest (behind the United States, China and India).
“Two-way trade between Japan and Australia stood at $70.8 billion in 2013, more than 10 per cent of Australia’s total trade,” said a DFAT spokesperson. “Japan is a vital, long-standing and highly complementary trading partner for Australia.”
Although electronics products are not among the Top 5 most imported goods from Japan — passenger and goods vehicles, petroleum, transport services and rubber tyres head the list — the benefits to Australian industry and consumers from fewer regulations on items like LCD TVs, major appliances and gaming consoles will still apply.