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ACTU stance on TPP predictable and short-sighted

The Australian Council of Trade Unions’ (ACTU) stance on the Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) has been labelled predictable and short-sighted by the country’s farming sector.

Australian agriculture is keenly awaiting ratification of this agreement which has been reached by twelve of the Pacific Rim countries and was signed in February this year.

NFF Chief Executive, Tony Mahar, said the TPP would provide significant market access gains over and above existing free trade agreements for Australian farmers that would create jobs and stimulate economic growth.

“The TPP holds a number of measures designed to lower both non-tariff and tariff barriers to trade that will be of great benefit to the ongoing strength and expansion of Australian agriculture,” Mr Mahar said.

“What we have heard from the ACTU today is sadly predictable and further demonstrates the short- sightedness of their approach and a refusal to see the bigger picture and long-term benefits of trade.

“More jobs will be created for Australians and isn’t that what we should all be striving towards to ensure the Australian economy is a strong and stable one?”

Mr Mahar said there were a range of commodity-specific benefits that would also be delivered by the TPP to the Australian agricultural sector.

“For example, beef producers will see the elimination or significant reduction if tariffs in Japan, Mexico and Canada, while price safeguards in the United States will be eliminated,” he said.

“From day one, sheepmeat producers will see all tariffs eliminated in all TPP countries except Mexico which has an eight-year timeframe.

“For the first time in 20 years, Australian sugar will gain new access into the US and Australian rice producers will see a quota expansion into Japan.

“Raw wool and cotton exports will no longer face any tariffs in TPP countries and new rules of origin for textiles mean Australian fibre will be in greater demand.

“Grain producers will see higher quotas for wheat and barley into Japan and new quota access for roasted malt exports, quenching the thirst for beer amongst the growing Asian middle class.”

Mr Mahar said while there had been much discussion surrounding the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provision of the Agreement these provisions were an important component of the agreement which provided transparency and certainty for domestic investors as well as foreign investors into Australia.

“Much has been said about the ISDS but it is important to note ISDS hearings, documents and decisions will be transparent and individuals, industry groups and NGOs will be able to make submissions,” he said.

“The farmers of Australia will continue to pursue improved market access and greater trade opportunities as they are good news for Australia and for Australian job growth.”

Media Centre: http://www.farmers.org.au/content/nff/en/media-center/media-releases.html

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