6th August, 2014 by Rupert Millar
Australian winemakers have been warned that the recent free trade agreement between Australia and Japan will not guarantee instant sales.
The Australian and Japanese prime ministers.
Although Japan is one of Asia’s leading and most vibrant wine markets, the recently agreed free trade agreement between it and Australia will not necessarily bring an instant sales boost.
The agreement will see tariffs on Australian wines reduced to nothing over the next seven years, however Chile has a similar agreement and is seeing the benefits of it, almost matching French imports now, and Europe is poised to sign a similar treaty and has the added benefit of Old World prestige plus a long history and established presence in the market.
The recent attention on China has shifted attention away from markets such as Singapore and Japan but if Australia is to capitalise on the benefits of the agreement it will have to shift its marketing attentions back to the north of the China Seas.
Wine Australia’s regional manager for Asia, Hiro Tejima, told The Australian Broadcasting Corporation that while Australia has not “neglected” Japan in preference for China, it would be better advised to take a more “balanced” approach to selling wine across Asia.
Despite Europe’s dominance in the wine market, the success of Chile shows that there are new, younger, consumers interested in New World wines which provides an opportunity for the likes of Australia.
Jonathan O’Neill, regional export manager for Angove, added that the economic partnership agreement would bring Australian winemakers’ attention back to Japan.
He told the broadcaster: “Australian winemakers will see that this market is still here, there’s plenty of opportunity, and taking advantage of that is a matter of engaging with distributors in Japan.
“It’s not going to be easy, because other countries like France and Italy are far more entrenched in the market than us.
“But if the Australian industry works together, we could achieve something quite special in five to ten years time.”