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Trade and Market Access

Government must maintain efforts to complete trade agreements, with agriculture being a central component of these negotiations and outcomes. Beyond tariff reductions, the Government must ensure it actively works to reduce the impact of non-tariff barriers that have a tangible impact on market access.

Issue

The NFF is dedicated to identifying and opening new export market opportunities for Australian agricultural produce and reducing distortions in global trade, including tariffs and quotas.  

Given Australia’s food and fibre industry’s heavy reliance on international trade it is critically important that government continue to work with industry to maximise trade opportunities under current international trade architecture. NFF has and will continue to work closely with government to provide a collaborative and constructive approach that delivers outcomes for Australian farmers and agribusiness. The relationships between industry and government negotiators need to be strengthened to ensure comprehensive exchange of information, views and priorities.

While the range of completed agreements to date provide major improvements, Australian goods still face technical barriers to trade such as certification issues and protocol delays. These technical barriers have capacity to seriously undermine trade agreements by making export difficult even in the absence of tariffs. 

Background

Agricultural trade needs to be free and liberalised for the industry to be strong, successful and to contribute to the Australian economy to the best of its ability. 

Distortions such as tariffs, subsidies and other technical market barriers must be removed for us to be on a level playing field with our competitors and for our premium quality produce to shine even more brightly in the global market place.

The Australian agricultural sector is unique.

In contrast to almost all OECD countries, Australia provides no trade distorting measures, little or no subsidies and the sector relies on a free and open trading environment to ensure an ongoing strong position in world markets and ensuing profitability for those in the agricultural supply chain.

Australian produce also has a near unparalleled reputation for being safe, clean and green and our world-leading biosecurity standards which have lead to our largely pest and disease free status.  It is, therefore, critical Australia protects its existing strong and science-based biosecurity regime so as to maintain this important competitive advantage.

What the industry needs

  • Completion of commercially advantageous trade agreements that provide improved opportunities for Australian farmers and agribusinesses (including bilateral with India, Indonesia, the European Union, Taiwan, and the Regional Cooperative Economic Partnership agreement (RCEP)).
  • Ratify signed trade agreements such as the (Trans Pacific Partnership) to ensure they come into effect swiftly.
  • Ensure the agricultural sector is at the centre of trade negotiations to adequately address unique requirements to the trade in agricultural goods such as biosecurity standards.
  • Increase resources to address technical market access issues including by expanding the number of agricultural counsellors and resources provided to them. 
  • Safeguard Australia’s biosecurity system by allocating adequate resources to protect our production capacity, and underpin a strong science and evidence-based regime.

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