Mak­ing deals

Shepparton News - Country News - - COBRAM & DISTRICT PONY CLUB TRIALS -

Some in­ter­na­tional trade min­is­ters have been ‘‘paral­ysed’’ in the tense global trade en­vi­ron­ment, Aus­tralian Trade Min­is­ter Steve Ciobo says.

And a free-trade deal with In­dia has stalled be­cause the two sides are too far apart, es­pe­cially over grain ex­ports.

In a speech to the Aus­tralian Grains In­dus­try con­fer­ence in Mel­bourne, Mr Ciobo said Aus­tralia was get­ting new trade deals done while other coun­tries seemed trans­fixed.

‘‘Over the last year or so, global trade pol­icy de­vel­op­ments have made more head­lines than is prob­a­bly de­sir­able,’’ he said on Wed­nes­day.

‘‘Some com­men­ta­tors — and even some of my coun­ter­parts from other na­tions — seem paral­ysed by the spec­ta­cle.’’

Mr Ciobo said Aus­tralia was try­ing to do a free-trade deal with In­dia to help meet grow­ing de­mand for food on the sub­con­ti­nent.

‘‘Aus­tralian farm ex­porters to In­dia have been whacked with a range of new trade dis­tor­tions over the past year,’’ Mr Ciobo said.

‘‘Th­ese are pro­foundly dis­ap­point­ing de­vel­op­ments.

‘‘The Turn­bull Gov­ern­ment has ex­pressed its con­cerns to the In­dian gov­ern­ment at the high­est lev­els in the clear­est pos­si­ble terms.’’

Ms Ciobo said he met with In­dian Com­merce Min­is­ter Suresh Prabhu in June to say In­dia had noth­ing to fear from Aus­tralian pro­duc­ers.

‘‘The truth is In­dia’s de­mand for food prod­ucts, in­clud­ing grains and pulses, will out­strip sup­ply by a wide mar­gin,’’ he said.

‘‘Un­for­tu­nately, those ne­go­ti­a­tions have been stalled be­cause our po­si­tions have been too far apart.’’

Mr Ciobo also said Aus­tralia was as­sess­ing the im­pact of the United States’ de­ci­sion to throw bil­lions of dol­lars at farm­ers af­ter they were hurt by the US trade war.

‘‘Es­ca­lat­ing tar­iffs is a vi­cious cy­cle,’’ he said.

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