GrainGrowers has welcomed this week’s official start of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations between the European Union and Australia.
GrainGrowers’ Trade and Economics Manager Luke Mathews says the EU is Australia’s largest canola export market and that a FTA will underpin ongoing strength in the relationship between the two economies.
“In 2016/17 Europe accounted for nearly 90 per cent of total Australian canola exports, valued at AUD $1.9 billion,” Mr Mathews said.
“Maintaining and building trade with Europe is of critical importance to Australian farmers.”
GrainGrowers urges the Australian Government to negotiate a comprehensive and high-quality trade agreement with the EU that improves market access and facilitates efficient trade.
“The grains industry is in a fortunate position with the majority of our grains and pulses entering EU markets duty free or with a limited duty,” said Mr Mathews.
“However, for some of our cereal, pulse or processed grain and oilseed exports we continue to face modest tariff and Tariff-Rate Quota (TRQ) barriers. We look forward to seeing these remaining barriers eliminated under the EU FTA and we would expect this to provide stronger outcomes for the Australian grains industry.
“In addition, the FTA needs to reinforce support for an effective rules-based trading system,” he said.
“It is crucial that all non-tariff measures that are put in place to protect ecoysystems and plant and animal health are based on sound science and existing international standards.”
Mr Mathews said that opening new export market opportunities for Australian grains and reducing distortions in global markets were key priorities for GrainGrowers.
“We urge the Australian Government to ensure that agriculture is at the heart of the negotiations.”
The FTA negotiations were launched on Monday 18 June in Canberra in a bilateral meeting between the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud and the EU Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström.
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