Australian farmers will continue to benefit from a highly valued trade relationship with China in parallel to the new agreement struck between the north Asian giant and the United States.
National Farmers Federation President, Fiona Simson said the improved relations between the China and United States, one of Australian agriculture’s main global competitors, would mean increased competition for Australia’s farm produce.
“Under the terms of the agreement, the United States has secured the doing away of significant non-tariff barriers including China’s recognition of the US’s red meat traceability systems and certification of dairy systems.
“Fortunately, Australia has carved out an enviable reputation in the Chinese marketplace with it’s safe, high-quality produce.
“We also continue to enjoy preferential access via the tariff reductions negotiated under the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.
“These factors combined mean demand from China for Australian produce will remain strong.”
Ms Simson said it was also important to appreciate the enormity of the Chinese market, and that in general, no single source could alone cater for China’s requirements for any one commodity.
As an export-dependent industry increasingly liberalised global trade and competition was welcomed by Australia’s farm sector, Ms Simson said.
“A thawing in relations between China, one of Australian agriculture’s largest importers and the United States, a close ally, is positive in the context of global trade relations.
“A successful global trade environment relies on certainty, competition and a rules-based system.
“The tensions between China and US created uncertainty.
“Australia’s agricultural interests are advanced when trading nations sing from the same song sheet and abide by the proven ‘rules’ of the World Trade Organisation.”
Ms Simson said the NFF, with government and industry, continued to work hard to secure improved access across the globe for Australian farm produce.
“Demand for our food and fibre from a wide variety of markets and regions remains strong.
“We continue to build a diversified market-base by nurturing the relationships forged with China, Japan and Korea through the respective FTAs and by exploring new partnerships.
“We continue to call for the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership to be implemented as soon as possible.
“We continue to call on the Government to deliver an EU FTA that achieves major new market access for Australian agricultural goods if it is to be of any value to Australia
“And we look forward to engaging with the UK as it enters a new era of an independent trade policy and the new trade relationship with Australia this offers.”
The NFF is also working with the Government in the exploration of new opportunities with India – a market of 1.3 billion people. Ms Simson will travel to India with the Prime Minister for important trade meetings later in the year.
Growing Australia’s farm exports is key to agriculture achieving its goal of $100 billion in farm gate output by 2030.
“The NFF is targeting a 5% reduction in the average tariff faced by agricultural exports by 2030 and a 50% reduction in agricultural exports experiencing non-tariff barriers by the same year,” Ms Simson said.