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Launch of trade negotiations with Japan welcomed by farmers

13 December 2006

"AUSTRALIAN farmers welcome the launch of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations with Japan by Prime Ministers Howard and Abe, however any concluded FTA must be all-inclusive," National Farmers' Federation (NFF) President David Crombie declared today.

"Japan is Australia's most important agricultural export market, with exports across most sectors of Australian agriculture.

"Australia's agricultural trade with Japan is valued at around $6 billion and growing each year - so a concluded FTA, that covers all agricultural products and sectors, has the potential to deliver significant benefits to farmers.

"Now that negotiations have been launched, Australian negotiators must commit to a comprehensive negotiations with their Japanese counterparts aimed at delivering an agreement that includes all products and sectors of Australian agriculture - Australian farmers expect nothing less.

" A comprehensive FTA offers significant benefits not only to Australian farmers in the form of increased market access, but also to Japan by delivering Japanese consumers the food security and food quality they require.

"NFF will constructively work with negotiators in order to achieve our objective of a comprehensive agreement. Ultimately however, Australian farmers and agricultural exporters will judge this agreement on how much and what new trade it creates," Mr Crombie concluded.

[ENDS]

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