National grain farmers’ representative body, GrainGrowers, has congratulated the Australian government on the signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership – the TPP-11 – in Chile.
GrainGrowers Trade and Economics Manager, Luke Mathews, said that TPP-11 was critical in not only delivering direct benefits to Australian grain farmers, but also in sending a strong positive message to those individuals and nations that seek to implement destructive protectionist policies.
“The TPP-11 includes five of Australia’s important grain exports markets in Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore, which account for 15-20 per cent of Australian grain trade,” Mr Mathews said.
“Benefits apply to a broad range of agricultural products, including grains.
“The Australian grain industry already has preferential access into a number of TPP-11 countries because of existing trade agreements, such as the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement and the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement, however TPP-11 will build on this.
“In particular, TPP-11 will result in improved market access for Australian wheat and barley into the important Japanese market.
“TPP-11 also improves access for Australian wheat and barley into the very large, and rapidly expanding Mexican market.”
Mr Mathews said GrainGrowers strongly supported a trade liberalisation agenda, one which focussed on addressing both tariff, quota and non-tariff barriers to trade (such as Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and inconsistent trade rules).
“Access to strong, open and fair international markets is critical to the success of the Australian grain industry, the Australian agriculture sector and the Australian economy more broadly,” Mr Mathews said.
“About 60 per cent of all grain grown in Australia is sold offshore, generating export returns of $11.8 billion per year.
“As such, we strongly encourage the Australian Government to vigorously pursue and conclude the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (which includes the critical ASEAN, Indian and Chinese markets), and the Australia-European Union Free Trade Agreement.
“Significant improvements for agriculture and grains market access, including addressing non-tariff barriers to trade, must be achieved as part of these negotiations.”