Historic trade agreement opens new doors for Australian farmers

Historic trade agreement opens new doors for Australian farmers article image

Australian farmers are set to gain major new market access for agricultural products under the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) between Australia and 11 other countries.

Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce, said the conclusion of negotiations was a significant step in advancing the opportunities for Australia’s agriculture, food, fisheries and forestry producers in some of the world’s largest economies.

“The TPP provides significant advantages for Australian agriculture, with major improvements to access for beef, dairy, grains, cotton, sugar, horticulture, rice, seafood and wine across 11 countries, five of which are Australia’s top 10 trading partners,” Mr Joyce said.

Australia now exports about $15 billion – or around 33 per cent – of agricultural products to TPP countries.

Many of those products currently face high tariffs that add to the cost of exports.

“The TPP will eliminate tariffs on more than $4.3 billion worth of exports of Australian agricultural products,” said Mr Joyce.

“Reduced tariffs and improved access to TPP countries will be available for beef, sheep meat, pork, livestock, dairy, wine, seafood, wool, cotton, grains and a range of horticultural products.

Sweet news for cane growers

“The Government has negotiated improved access for Australian sugar to the United States, the first improvement in sugar access to the US market in 20 years.

Mr Joyce said while market access gains for sugar to the US are not as substantial as many in the industry had hoped for, the partnership sees the largest ever new access granted to a sugar exporting country by the US in an FTA.

Under the new agreement an additional 65,000 tonnes can be exported into the US on top of Australia’s existing WTO quota of 87,000 tonnes.

This is in addition to the further reduction in the duties on Australia’s high polarity sugar exports to Japan under the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA).

And Canada has agreed to eliminate tariffs on refined sugar within six years of entry as well as the elimination of in-quota tariffs on Vietnam’s WTO sugar quota.

“For Australian beef exports, we will see Japan’s beef tariffs reduced to nine per cent within 15 years of entry into force of the TPP,” said Mr Joyce.

And the United States will eliminate price-based beef safeguards under the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement. Canadian beef tariffs will be eliminated over 11 years.

Wine exports set to boom

“Australian wine exports will see elimination of Canada’s tariffs upon entry into force, Malaysian tariffs within 15 years, Vietnamese tariffs within 11 years and Mexican tariffs within three years, said Mr Joyce.

“For the first time since 1995, new quota access for Australian rice and flour into Japan has been achieved, through a new 6,000 tonne quota on entry into force, growing to 8,400 tonnes over 13 years.

“And the TPP will see all tariffs on Australian cotton eliminated—most on entry into force.”

“Australia is a trading nation, and to make sure farmers receive the best returns for their products, we need to make sure they have the best possible trade opportunities into a wide range of markets to receive our clean, green products.”

Mr Joyce said while the TPP agreement does not deliver on all the aspirations of all industries, the overall gains for the agriculture sector will provide for further expansion of trade in the APAC region.

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