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Farmers welcome bipartisan support for China FTA

21 October 2015

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has welcomed the restoration of bipartisan support for the landmark China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, which will see the deal ratified by parliament and deliver a double tariff cut to Australian farmers.

NFF President Brent Finlay said the peak farm body is relieved that politics have been put aside in the interests of Australia’s economic future.

“This agreement is a game-changer for Australian agriculture, and should have never been held to ransom. Common sense has prevailed – there was always too much riding on this agreement for it to be sidelined.

“Ratification will mean Australian farmers and agribusinesses can take advantage of the reduced tariffs on Australian food and fibre products as soon as possible. This presents huge opportunities for Australian farmers, boosting economic growth and farm-gate returns.

“The NFF has maintained the position that the China FTA will create more jobs for Australians on the back of increased food and fibre exports and the positive flow-on effects to our rural and regional communities.

“At the same time, we have expressed concern about the potential changes to skilled migration policy which could increase the cost and regulatory burden on Australian farmers. We will be looking closely at the detail of today’s agreement to assess its likely impact on the sector.

“Bipartisan support for trade has been a mainstay of the Australian Parliament. Today is an example of this proud tradition and we hope to see this continue for one of the economy’s brightest spots – Australian agriculture.

“Australian farmers are capitalising on world leading innovation and digital technology to guide them through the next wave of growth. Trade is a crucial element to facilitate this investment: connecting our food and fibre to a global network of consumers.

“The NFF looks forward to the swift passage of the enabling legislation through Parliament and commends the Government and Opposition for their commitment to ratify the agreement this calendar year.”

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