National grain farmer representative organisation, GrainGrowers, welcomes news that enabling legislation for the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11) will be introduced to the Senate next week.
GrainGrowers has called on bipartisan support for TPP-11 in the Senate, saying the benefits to the Australian economy, the Australian grains sector and to regional prosperity are too large to ignore.
“In September we observed bipartisan support for TPP-11 in the House of Representatives. Next week we trust that same support will be on display in the Senate,” said GrainGrowers Trade and Economics Manager, Mr Luke Mathews.
“Australia’s early ratification of TPP-11 will give Australian grain farmers a reason to smile, something that has been difficult for many in recent months given drought conditions, by ensuring improved market access and better grain prices once more favourable seasonal conditions return,” Mr Mathews said.
“Bilateral and regional preferential trade agreements such as the TPP-11 are critical in improving export opportunities and prices for the Australian grain sector.”
TPP-11 members are important partners of the Australian grains industry. The average value of Australian grain exports to TPP-11 members is A$1.6 billion, contributing some 15-20 per cent of all Australian grains exports.
“For the grains industry, the largest benefits from TPP-11 are improved market access into the important Japanese wheat, barley and canola market,” Mr Mathews said.
“In 2016/2017, Australian grains exports to Japan were valued at more than $750 million, led by barley, $325 M, wheat, $304 M, and canola, $84 M,” he said.
“In addition to the market access outcomes, the TPP-11 will play an important role in encouraging mutual recognition of standards and reducing non-tariff barriers in the region.
“Australian grain farmers grow about 49 million tonnes of grains, oilseeds and pulses each year, which at the farm gate alone is worth $14.6 billion. This production generates more than 170,000 jobs across rural, regional and metropolitan Australia.
“More than 70 per cent of this grain production is typically sold offshore, generating $12.2 billion each year, and accounting for more than a quarter of all Australian agricultural export earnings.
“It is vitally important that free trade and market access remain a key focus of our government.”