Major gains for Australian farmers in the world’s largest regional trade agreement

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6 October 2015

Australian farmers are set to gain major new market access for our agricultural products, after the Australian Government today agreed a historic new trade agreement with Asia-Pacific nations, the biggest ever of its kind. 

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the conclusion of negotiations for the Trans–Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) between Australia and 11 other countries[1] 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,” Minister Joyce said.  

“We currently export approximately $15 billion—or around 33 per cent—of agricultural products to TPP countries, with many of our products currently facing 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.  

“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.  

“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.  

“While market access gains for sugar to the United States 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 United States in an FTA, with an additional 65,000 tonnes of access from entry into force plus a greater share of unallocated quota. This is 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, beyond gains delivered in the Japan-Australia economic agreement; elimination of Canada’s tariffs on refined sugar within six years of entry into force; and 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, and elimination of the United States’ price-based safeguard under the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement on entry into force. Canadian beef tariffs will be eliminated over 11 years. 

“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. 

“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.  

“The Coalition Government understands agriculture, and the fact that exports underpin our producers’ prosperity. 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. 

“That’s why the government continues to strive for the best market access opportunities possible—a commitment that’s reflected by the conclusion of this agreement, and also those signed with three of our biggest agricultural trading partners in China, Japan and Korea. 

“While the agreement does not deliver on all the aspirations of all industries, I am pleased that the overall gains for the agriculture sector are real and provide  for further expansion of trade in this region.  

“And the negotiation isn’t an endpoint—it’s a beginning of a new relationship with TPP countries and one which we will use to continue to press for improved market access for our producers and exporters.  

“We will continue to work hard to capitalise on those opportunities from the FTAs that the Coalition Government has signed with China, Japan, Korea, and now with other Asia-Pacific nations, and to strengthen Australia’s productive capacity and competitiveness to supply Asian and other international markets.” 

For more information on outcomes in the TPP, visit dfat.gov.au/tpp

[1] The 12 countries party to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement are: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.