Rain wasn’t the only welcomed news for farmers this week. New and expanded market access for Australian farm products are a step closer with progress on two important trade details.
On Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed the Indonesian Parliament’s ratification of a trade agreement between the two countries, following the Australian Parliament’s endorsement last year.
The coming to fruition of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA), coincided with a visit to Australia by the Indonesian President, Joko Widodo.
In his address to the Parliament, President Widodo stressed the importance of enforcing “open, free and fair economic principles”.
“Whilst protectionism is rising, we must continue to advocate economic openness and fairness,” President Widodo said.
“This agreement represents a huge win for Australian farmers as well as Indonesian consumers,” National Farmers’ Federation President Fiona Simson said.
Ms Simson said food consumption in Indonesia was predicted to quadruple by 2050 therefore the importance of the Indonesian market could not be overstated.
This agreement provides significant new export opportunities for live cattle, beef, grains, sheep meat, dairy, sugar, horticulture and a range of other commodities
The IA-CEPA could come into force as early as April.
Tuesday, also marked the coming into force of the Peru-Australian Free Trade Agreement, which includes a reduction in tariffs for a variety of agricultural products.
“Peru has a population of 31.5 million and is the fastest growing economy in Latin America,” Ms Simson said.
“For years our exports have been subject to tariffs of up to 65%, making this burgeoning market almost inpenetrable.”
The Peru-Australia Free Trade Agreement will deliver enhanced market access for sugar, dairy, rice, sorghum, sheep meat, seafood and wine. The FTA also includes staggered benefits for grains.
“We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Australian Government, and particularly to Trade Minister, Simon Birmingham, who has continued to work hard to ensure both these important agreements came to fruition,” Ms Simson said.
“As an industry which derives 70 per cent of its earnings from exports, ambitious free trade agreements like IA-CEPA and PAFTA are absolutely key to the strength of our sector.”
A key goals of the NFF’s 2030 Roadmap – NFF’s blueprint for growing the industry to $100 billion over the next 10 years – is lowering the average tariff faced by agricultural exports to 5 per cent.