Deal means ex­port ad­van­tage

Shepparton News - Country News - - NEWS -

The re­gion’s horticulturalists, dairy farm­ers and grain grow­ers re­ceived a boost in com­pet­i­tive ex­port ad­van­tage on De­cem­ber 31 and Jan­uary 1 as the world’s third-largest trade agree­ment and Aus­tralia’s new trade agree­ment with China came into ef­fect.

Fed­eral Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter David Lit­tleproud lauded the China trade deal.

‘‘Tar­iffs on our farm pro­duce go­ing into China will be largely elim­i­nated,’’ Mr Lit­tleproud said.

‘‘Key ex­ports in­clud­ing wine, most fruit and veg­eta­bles, seafood and some dairy will no longer cop a tar­iff in China, which means our pro­duce will be more af­ford­able for Chi­nese con­sumers.’’

Mr Lit­tleproud also praised the new Com­pre­hen­sive and Pro­gres­sive Agree­ment for Tran­sPa­cific Part­ner­ship, also known as the TPP-11 for the 11 coun­tries in­volved.

The TPP-11 was res­ur­rected from a for­mer trade ne­go­ti­a­tion af­ter the United States — un­der Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump — pulled out.

The re­main­ing coun­tries rep­re­sent about 15 per cent of global gross do­mes­tic prod­uct and in­clude Canada, Ja­pan, Malaysia, Mex­ico, New Zealand, Peru, Sin­ga­pore and Viet­nam along with Aus­tralia.

‘‘Just some of the ben­e­fits are our farm­ers will sell more dairy into Canada through a new quota, more rice into Ja­pan and no longer face tar­iffs on sheep meat or pork into Mex­ico,’’ Mr Lit­tleproud said.

Canada and Mex­ico will elim­i­nate most or all hor­ti­cul­tural tar­iffs on TPP-11 mem­bers im­me­di­ately.

Ja­pan will also be­gin scal­ing back tar­iffs im­me­di­ately.

Na­tional Farm­ers’ Fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent Fiona Sim­son said in Novem­ber the in­tro­duc­tion of the TPP-11 would be a ma­jor boost for farm­ers.

‘‘TPP-11 de­liv­ers im­proved mar­ket ac­cess,’’ she said.

‘‘These out­comes will in­crease in­vest­ment on-farm in jobs, in­no­va­tion and ef­fi­cien­cies that will flow through to ru­ral and re­gional economies.’’

Aus­tralia’s to­tal hor­ti­cul­tural out­put was val­ued at $5.1 bil­lion in 2017 with about half com­ing from Vic­to­ria ac­cord­ing to Agri­cul­ture Vic­to­ria.

TPP-11 coun­tries rep­re­sent about $750 mil­lion worth of that trade.

‘‘Reach­ing con­sen­sus with 10 other na­tions on such a gamechang­ing deal for re­gional trade is no small achieve­ment,’’ Ms Sim­son said.

‘‘The TPP-11 will im­prove trad­ing con­di­tions for Aus­tralia’s farm sec­tor and help reach our vi­sion of a $100 bil­lion farm sec­tor by 2030. TPP-11 ex­pan­sion will fur­ther help us achieve this goal.’’

Mean­while many US farm­ers are re­port­edly fu­ri­ous with the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the new trade deal, fac­ing the ‘‘im­mi­nent col­lapse’’ of key mar­kets and fear­ing un­even trade play­ing fields.

Amer­i­can wheat and beef pro­duc­ers have been par­tic­u­larly vo­cal.

They ex­pect Aus­tralian farm­ers to use their TPP ad­van­tage to sell more to Ja­pan.

‘‘Ja­pan is gen­er­ally a mar­ket where we seek to main­tain our strong 53 per cent mar­ket share, but to­day we face an im­mi­nent col­lapse,’’ US Wheat As­so­ciates pres­i­dent Vince Peter­son told a pub­lic hear­ing held by the US Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive in De­cem­ber.

‘‘Frankly, this is be­cause of pro­vi­sions ne­go­ti­ated (by for­mer US pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s ad­min­is­tra­tion) for our ben­e­fit un­der the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship.

‘‘Our com­peti­tors in Aus­tralia and Canada will now ben­e­fit from those pro­vi­sions, as US farm­ers watch help­lessly.’’

Mr Peter­son said Aus­tralian and Cana­dian wheat pro­duc­ers would en­joy an im­me­di­ate seven per cent drop in tar­iffs sell­ing to Ja­pan be­cause of the TPP-11.

‘‘By April it will have gone down by 12 per cent,’’ he said.

‘‘In very real terms, as of April 1, 2019, US wheat will face a 40 cent per bushel, or $US14 per met­ric tonne, re­sale price dis­ad­van­tage to Aus­tralia and Canada.’’

— Myles Peter­son and AAP

Could prove fruit­ful . . . Fruit ex­porters may profit from the in­tro­duc­tion of the new TPP agree­ment.

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