THE seventh Australia-Japan High Level Dialogue, held on 19 February, has agreed on progressing the Statement of Intent on agri-food value chains.

The Australian government’s Andrew Metcalfe AO, who co-chaired the dialogue virtually with Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, vice minister Osawa, said the SOI was now a step closer for consideration by Australia and Japan’s agriculture ministers.

“With Japan our second biggest agricultural trading partner, today was an important opportunity to reinforce our ties and share our strong ambition for future trade and collaboration,” Mr Metcalfe said.

“The SOI once agreed will solidify the commitment of both countries to work together on supply chain resilience, export modernisation and future food systems.

“These go to enhancing market access and expansion opportunities.”

Australia’s agricultural trade with Japan was valued at $5.7bn in 2019-20, a 15% increase from 2015-16 when it entered into a bilateral agreement – the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement.

Australia is an important supplier to Japan of beef, woodchips, cheese, wheat, offal, fodder and barley.

Mr Metcalfe said the dialogue was also an opportunity to highlight our already strong bilateral agriculture trading relationship, particularly in areas such as meat, dairy and plant products.

“Discussions at the government-industry beef talks and dairy talks involving Meat and Livestock Australia and Dairy Australia were also highlighted,” he said.

“Through these talks we can lift our engagement and relationships.”