Sugar sweetens the deal
THE Australian Sugar Industry Alliance (ASA) says that the important Australia-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is a step closer as the text of the proposed agreement has been posted on the government websites in both Australia and Korea.
It is a somewhat unusual step to post an agreement publicly before it is signed by both countries, but ASA supports the additional layer of transparency that the move brings.
ASA welcomes the agreement posted for public access, saying it would elimin- ate tariffs for raw sugar in the trade agreement with Korea. South Korea is the largest export market for Australia’s raw sugar, with sales exceeding one million tonnes annually, valued at some $ 500 million, making the KoreaAustralia FTA an important one for Australia’s sugarcane industry. The improved terms of trade flowing from the FTA will make Korea an even more attractive market for Australian raw sugar.
‘‘The FTA will provide a significant boost to Australia’s raw sugar exports by removing the raw sugar tariff as soon as the agreement enters into force and will increase access for white sugar over 18 years, when the 35 per cent tariff will be eliminated,’’ says chairman of the Australian Sugar Industry Alliance, John Pratt.
‘‘ The Korea- Australia FTA confirms that trade agreements can be reached that include the so-called sensitive products such as sugar and will ensure the longstanding trade relationship between the two countries can continue to grow," he says. All eyes will now be on world trade negotiations to follow suit and include full access for sugar.