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New beef quota boosts farmers’ resolve for free trade

21 January 2010

“IMPROVING access to overseas markets can be a slow and tortuous process, but Australian cattle producers are finally seeing rewards for their patience,” National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) President David Crombie declared on the announcement by the European Union (EU) that Australia has been approved to supply high quality beef under an additional global quota of 20,000 tonnes.

“Yesterday’s confirmation that Australian beef exporters meet the EU high quality beef quota requirements demonstrates that incremental advances can pay off for Australian exporters. Trade access for Australian farmers is improving, not as fast or as widespread as we would like, but the domino effect is real.

“With nations increasingly desperate to find more food to feed ever-growing populations, trade will play an increasingly important role in meeting the world’s food needs. Under these circumstances, the flawed economic justification for protectionism is stripped away due to the raw reality that food is in short supply and getting shorter.

“Australia, with it rigorous food production standards and well earned reputation as a supplier of high quality, safe and hygienic food, is in the box seat to meet the worlds’ growing food and fibre demands. The announcement by the EU is recognition of the strength and integrity of Australia’s agricultural production systems.

“Across the whole of Australian farming we export around two-thirds of everything we produce. In order to grow our farm sector, we need to grow our international markets. It is, therefore, no surprise that the NFF has been pushing the free trade line for more than a quarter of a century.

“Improving international market access and removing distortions for global trade of agricultural goods remains a key priority for us.

“Clearly, the 830 million-strong EU population has been, and will continue to be, a focus for Australian agriculture’s export growth strategy. We are unapologetic for this.

“We thank the Australian Government and its officials here and overseas for the work they have put into achieving this successful outcome. With their support, the NFF will continue to chip away at each barrier to trade that distorts the free flow of goods and services, which prevents the efficient allocation of the world’s scarce natural resources.”

[ENDS]

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