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Trade reform win for Aussie farmers

1 November 2007

AUSTRALIAN farmers and agricultural exporters were delivered a major win in the election campaign last night with the release of the Coalition’s trade policy, delivering in full all of the National Farmers’ Federation’s (NFF) key trade election platform goals.

"While most of the food Australians eat everyday comes from our farmers, a significant 70% of what we produce is also sent overseas, feeding millions around the globe and generating almost $30 billion in exports for the Australian economy," NFF President David Crombie said.

"Australian farmers depend on new and improved access to international markets to grow their businesses with confidence into the future.

"Last night we saw a strong, new commitment to appoint an Ambassador for Trade Reform to strengthen Australia’s leadership of the Cairns Group and our ability to build additional trade reform coalitions across the world.

"We strongly support the Coalitions number one trade policy objective - a successful completion of a high-quality Doha Round Agreement through the World Trade Organization (WTO) that will deliver commercial opportunities for Australian farmers."

The NFF also supports the dedication of resources to complete high-quality Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with major agricultural markets including China, Japan, Malaysia, the Gulf Cooperation Council and Association of South East Asian Nations/New Zealand.

Importantly for farmers, the commitment to pragmatically seek FTA’s with important trading partners and early conclusions to feasibility studies - with countries such as South Korea – is vital to ensure we maintain and grow key markets across the world.

The commitment of $10 million over four years to establish a new program, Expanding Australian Food and Beverages Exports, aimed at pursuing market access opportunities in key food markets such as China, the United States, Japan, India, the United Kingdom and Singapore is another positive initiative.

"In addition, the Coalition has committed to the continuation of vital funding to the Trade Representative for Australia’s Agricultural Industries – who greatly assists the NFF in our campaign to reform global trade through the Cairns Group Farm Leaders Forum and the International Federation of Agricultural Producers.

"The NFF now looks forward to the release of Labor’s trade policy in the coming weeks.

"We are also eager to see the agricultural policies of both Labor and the Coalition reflect additional resources for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) to boost its ability to contribute to trade negotiations and to bilaterally open agricultural markets." David Crombie concluded.

[ENDS]

The NFF’s 2007 Federal Election Policy Platform is available here.

Media Enquiries: Emma Keogh on (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250

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