EU beef trade deal wel­comed

Countryman - - LIVESTOCK - Bob Gar­nant

WA’s beef in­dus­try may not benefit di­rectly from the re­cently launched Aus­tralia-Euro­pean Union Free Trade Agree­ment, but the State’s sheep­meat in­dus­try is a ready player.

While the WA’s sheep­meat pro­cess­ing plants are al­ready con­tribut­ing to the Euro­pean trade, the State’s beef pro­cess­ing sec­tor is presently not qual­i­fied un­der EU cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

WAMMCO chief ex­ec­u­tive Col MacRury wel­comed the prospect of flex­i­bil­ity into an EU sheep­meat mar­ket that has been sig­nif­i­cantly restricted for many years.

“We value this bet­ter ac­cess trade agree­ment and un­der­stand the EU mar­ket re­quires high-grade su­per­mar­ket prod­uct,” he said.

Fletcher In­ter­na­tional gen­eral man­ager Greg Cross said im­prove­ment were un­der way on the Nar­rikup plant to sup­ply “sec­ond to none” Aus­tralian sheep­meat prod­uct to the EU.

The suc­cess­ful EU trade ne­go­ti­a­tion was an­nounced by Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull, the Aus­tralian Min­is­ter for Trade Steven Ciobo and the Euro­pean Com­mis­sioner for Trade Ce­cilia Malm­strom on June 18.

Aus­tralia-EU Red Meat Mar­ket Ac­cess Task Force chair­man Ja­son Strong said the an­nounce­ment was a pos­i­tive first step in seek­ing to im­prove mar­ket ac­cess ar­range­ments with a long-term cus­tomer of Aus­tralian beef and sheep­meat.

“The launch of FTA ne­go­ti­a­tions with the EU pro­vides a sig­nif­i­cant op­por­tu­nity to re­visit Aus­tralia’s red meat ac­cess to the Euro­pean mar­ket for the first time in over 40 years,” Mr Strong said.

“The EU is a ma­jor con­sumer of im­ported meat — with the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion iden­ti­fy­ing an on­go­ing re­quire­ment for both im­ported beef and sheep­meat due to deficits in do­mes­tic sup­ply.

“While Aus­tralia is ideally po­si­tioned to help ser­vice this mar­ket re­quire­ment via ded­i­cated sup­ply chains, our ac­cess is limited by the EU’s highly re­stric­tive im­port regime. Com­pared with many other coun­tries sup­ply­ing the EU, Aus­tralia ex­pe­ri­ences dis­pro­por­tion­ately low vol­ume quo­tas, high du­ties within cer­tain quo­tas and trade pro­hib­i­tive above quota tar­iffs.”

For beef, Aus­tralia has ac­cess to a coun­try spe­cific quota of only 7150 tonnes, as well as shared ac­cess to a 45,000 tonne global grain­fed beef quota, which in com­bi­na­tion rep­re­sent a mea­gre 0.2 per cent of to­tal EU beef con­sump­tion. For sheep­meat/goat­meat, Aus­tralia’s coun­try spe­cific quota is just 19,186 tonnes or less than 2 per cent of to­tal EU sheep­meat con­sump­tion. “Aus­tralia’s trad­ing re­la­tion­ship with the EU is based on shared val­ues and is heav­ily fo­cused on meet­ing EU cus­tomer de­mand for high qual­ity red meat prod­ucts,” Mr Strong said.

Mr Strong said the task force was en­cour­aged by the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment’s com­mit­ment that it would seek an am­bi­tious and com­pre­hen­sive FTA with the EU, pri­ori­tis­ing en­hanced ac­cess for agri­cul­tural prod­ucts, in­clud­ing Aus­tralian red meat.

“We look for­ward to work­ing closely with Aus­tralia’s ne­go­ti­at­ing team to de­liver the best pos­si­ble re­sult for Aus­tralian red meat pro­duc­ers, pro­ces­sors and ex­porters,” Mr Strong said.

Ja­son Strong

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