As one of our longest-standing and most important mining and energy customers, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is a welcome visitor to Australia this week.
Australian mining has exported more than 1.6 billion tonnes of iron ore and more than 2 billion tonnes of coal to Japan in the last 25 years, according to the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics.
The value of these exports exceeds one quarter of a trillion dollars. This is revenue that has helped the Australian economy grow, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and generating billions of dollars in revenue for all levels of government.
These minerals exports have helped underpin the remarkable development of Japan; and in turn significantly boosted the Australian economy.
Australian iron ore and coking coal has created steel to build critical infrastructure while our thermal coal has produced reliable and affordable energy to power Japanese manufacturing and homes.
All Australians should be immensely proud of the role our minerals resources have played in the development of modern Japan.
The new Free Trade Agreement with Japan will deepen an already close strategic economic relationship and in so doing provide a significant boost to Australia’s minerals exporters.
The minerals industry has warmly welcomed the Australia-Japan FTA and looks forward to its early implementation.
Japan is Australia’s biggest coal customer and our second largest trading partner. In 2012-13, Australia exported $25.7 billion worth of coal, iron ore, copper and other concentrates to Japan. Coal contributed $13.7 billion of that total.