NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is confident her trade mission to Japan and Korea will help to boost infrastructure investment into NSW and strengthen cultural and trade ties.
In her first overseas trip as NSW premier, Ms Berejiklian is meeting with government and business leaders to encourage greater collaboration on infrastructure, financial services and education.
“I will also be encouraging our Japanese and Korean friends to visit Sydney and explore what’s on offer across our cities and regions,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“Japan and Korea are two of NSW’s most important economic partners – something I look forward to strengthening further on this trip.
“Our close ties with Japan and Korea are not limited to trade and investment. Australia shares strong cultural bonds with Japan and Korea built through years of engagement and friendship.”
Japan is NSW’s largest export market, and Australia’s second largest source of foreign direct investment, while Korea is NSW’s third largest export market, and a growing investor.
Beef sales booming
Ms Berejiklian’s trip comes two years after a free trade agreement was sealed between Australia and Japan – and sales of beef are booming.
Last year, NSW exported $318 million worth of beef to Japan, up 20 per cent since the free trade deal was struck in 2015, while other NSW meat exports have grown 16 per cent.
During the five-day trip Ms Berejiklian met with Sydney chef turned Tokyo restaurateur Matthew Crabbe.
Mr Crabbe, who worked under Sydney's Japanese master chef Tetsuya in his original restaurant in Rozelle, has lived in Japan for 20 years.
He now owns the fashionable Ruby Jack's steakhouse and the Two Rooms grill in Tokyo.
Japan fiercely protecting its farmers
“NSW beef is our number one seller in both restaurants," Mr Crabbe said.
In Japan, non-Japanese beef cannot be referred to as wagyu, so the NSW beef is highlighted on his menus as black angus. Mr Crabbe dry ages the meat.
Japan fiercely protects its farmers but, under the free trade agreement with Australia, the tariff on frozen beef fell from 38.5 per cent to 30.5 per cent, and will continue to fall to 19.5 per cent over 18 years. The fresh beef tariff fell to 32. 5 per cent.
Mr Crabbe said he didn't think the tariff cut had made a big difference, as Japanese consumers sought quality over price, but it had made it easier to source Australian product.
It also improved the margins for restaurants choosing to serve Australian beef.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and chef Matthew Crabbe in Tokyo restaurant Ruby Jack’s