National grain farmers’ representative body, GrainGrowers, today welcomed the Peru-Australia Free Trade Agreement (PA-FTA) as another successful milestone in liberalising global trade.
To be announced at the APEC summit in Vietnam today, the latest FTA is the tenth concluded since 2000 by successive Coalition and Labor Governments.
“GrainGrowers strongly supports efforts to liberalise global grain trade through the World Trade Organisation and the use of bilateral and plurilateral Free Trade Agreements,” said GrainGrowers Trade and Economics Manager, Luke Mathews.
“Access to strong, open and fair international markets is critical to the success of the Australian grain industry, the Australian agriculture sector and the Australian economy more broadly,” Mr Mathews said.
“About 60 per cent of all grain grown in Australia is sold offshore, generating export returns of $11.8 billion per year. The industry’s largest production crop, wheat, is also the most highly export dependent.
“Typically 75 per cent of Australian wheat production is exported, valued at $6.0 billion per year (1).”
Mr Mathews said that although Peru is currently a very small market for the Australian grain sector, Peru is a growing consumer and importer of grains, oilseeds and pulses.
“Peru’s annual grain, oilseed and pulse consumption is about 7.5 million tonnes, supported by imports of 5.5 million tonnes. Grain consumption and imports have grown by nearly 1.5 million tonnes over the past five years.
“Australian wheat, barley, oats, pulses, malt and canola oil now have the ability to enter Peru tariff free and Australian sorghum exporters have achieved preferential access under an agreed tariff-rate quota.
“In addition GrainGrowers recognises and applauds the improved access to Peru for many other Australian agricultural commodities, such as beef and sheep meat, which are produced by many of Australia’s grain farmers.”
Mr Mathews said GrainGrowers was optimistic the PA-FTA would set a positive and strong precedent ahead of the upcoming FTA negotiations with the Pacific Alliance countries, which include Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru.
“The Pacific Alliance members, of which Mexico is the largest, account for 42 per cent of Latin American GDP with a combined population of 224 million. Mexico contributes roughly 60 per cent of both figures.
“Pacific Alliance grain consumption exceeds 84 million tonnes and is growing at 4.5 per cent per annum, driven by strong population growth and changing diets. The Pacific Alliance’s annual grain imports exceed 41 million tonnes, with growth of 7.4 per cent per annum.
1. Based on a five year average to 2015/16.
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