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New trade opportunities on the horizon for farmers as Labor backs FTAs

21 October 2019

Access to new, valuable export market opportunities are a day closer for Australian farmers with the Federal Labor Party agreeing to ratify three important trade agreements.

NFF President Fiona Simson said Labor's support for the Indonesian, Hong Kong and Peru trade agreements was welcome good news for farmers, many of who were managing one of the worst droughts in living memory.

"Australian agriculture is an export dependent industry – three quarters of what farmers produce is exported.

"We compete in a price sensitive global market against often highly-subsidised competitors.

"Australian farmers are amongst the least subsidised in the world and are reliant on strong trade relationships to maintain market share."

Ms Simson thanked Labor Shadow Minister for Trade, Madeleine King MP, for putting the interests of Australian farmers first.

"We appreciate Ms King's interest in the policies farmers require to maximise our export opportunities.

"It's incredibly important that when the drought breaks and farm productivity grows, that farmers are able to benefit from an enhanced trading relationship with Indonesia, Peru and Hong Kong.

"Indonesia, in particular, offers significant benefits across the board including for live cattle, feed grains, beef, sheep meat, dairy, sugar, fruit, carrots, potatoes and honey."

The NFF has identified reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers on Australian farm exports as critical to the sector reaching $100 billion in farm gate output by 2030.

"The NFF is working to ensure our farm sector enjoys world-leading market access and is able to capitalise on the economic benefits this offers," Ms Simson said.

"Preferential trade agreements like those reached with Indonesia, Peru and Hong Kong go to the heart of this aspiration."

Ms Simson said Peru had finalised its ratification processes and hoped Indonesia and Hong Kong would finalise their processes in a timeframe similar to that of Australia.

The Morrison Government today introduced the enabling legislation into the House to Representatives. Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said it was the intention for the Bill to be introduced to the Senate by year's end.

"Supporting the trade opportunities for Australian farmers and business must be bi-partisan and we thank the Labor Party for supporting these important agreements," Ms Simson said.

Media Enquiries: Laureta Wallace
E
P 0408 448 250

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