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Agricultural producers and food processors call for full trade liberalisation

11 December 2012

Farmers and food processors from Australia, New Zealand and Canada are calling on Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries to conclude a 21st century trade agreement in 2013 that liberalises trade across all goods and services.

At the 15th round of TPP negotiations taking place in Auckland, New Zealand, agri-food groups from across the TPP region are meeting together and calling for negotiators to uphold a high level of ambition in the trade talks.

“The TPP was established to eliminate all tariffs and to bring a new level of discipline to the use of non-tariff barriers,” said Bruce Wills, National President of the Federated Farmers of New Zealand. “Trade generates jobs and wealth. Negotiators must adhere to the TPP objectives - a high quality comprehensive agreement - to ensure this deal is of real value to the region.”

TPP negotiations, which include New Zealand, Australia,
Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, Chile, Peru, the United States, Mexico and Canada, have been on-going since 2009. Canada and Mexico joined the TPP in 2012 making this their first negotiating round as TPP members. Their addition has brought the combined GDP of TPP countries to US $21 trillion.

“When completed, the TPP will become a precedent for all future trade deals in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Kathleen Sullivan, Executive Director of the Canadian Agri-food Trade Alliance. “Establishing a high standard at the beginning ensures there is no room for future entrants into the TPP to water the deal down.”

Agricultural producers and food processors are calling on TPP negotiators to eliminate tariffs on all products, without exception, to introduce liberal rules of origin within the TPP region, to ensure regulations adhere to international science based standards, and to ensure enforceable and consistent customs procedures that facilitate trade.

“We need to bring these negotiations to a timely close,” said Jock Laurie, President of the National Farmers’ Federation of Australia. “The leaders of the TPP countries have stated a desire to complete negotiations in 2013. Negotiators need to demonstrate real progress on difficult issues and express their commitment to this timeframe.”

Federated Farmers of New Zealand, National Farmers’ Federation of Australia and the Canadian Agri-food Trade Alliance work to enhance trade opportunities for agri-food sectors in their respective countries. Market opportunities are growing in the Asia Pacific region and a high quality TPP agreement will ensure sustainable growth in that region.

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