THE NEWS WRAP: Government bullish about free trade agreement with Japan, but beef remains a bone of contention

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said he remains cautiously optimistic about Australia securing a free trade agreement with Japan, although tariffs on Australian beef exports remain a key point of contention between the two nations.


Currently, Japan has a 38.5% tariff on Australian beef, which they are considering halving to 19.35%, although that might not be enough to secure an agreement.


“Under the free trade agreement, about which we are optimistic, we are hopeful not just of getting more Australian produce sold in Japan, more Japanese products sold in Australia, but we want to have more investment, more two-way investment and more opportunities for Australian companies to flourish here in Japan,” Abbott says.


TPG Capital close to investing in Airbnb


Private equity firm TPG Capital is close to investing in Airbnb at a $US10 billion valuation, with the online accommodation marketplace set to raise $US500 million in its current financing round.


The service, launched in 2008, allows users to rent out a couch, bedroom or house, and claims listing in over 34,000 cities.


Neither TPG Capital nor Airbnb are currently commenting publicly about the negotiations.


US economy grows 192,000 jobs, unemployment remains steady


The US economy gained 190,000 jobs during March, while the unemployment rate remained steady at a near five-year low of 6.7%, according to new official figures.


The US Labor Department figures also show employers increased the number of hours offered to employees, interpreted by analysts as a sign of growing confidence in the economy.


“It is strong enough to indicate the economy is back on track, but not so robust that the Federal Reserve would have to start thinking about actually raising rates,” Joel Naroff, head of Naroff Economic Advisers, told Reuters.




The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down to 16412.7. The Aussie dollar is down to US92.87 cents.


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