Taking advantage of demand from Korea

Farmers in NSW are well placed to take advantage of the Federal Government’s announcement that it had concluded negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Republic of Korea.

While the agreement has to go back to the respective governments for ratification, this agreement is a step closer to resolution of the FTA and a real indication that the Federal Government is looking to build strong trading arrangements with Asia.

NSW Farmers Business, Economics and Trade Chair Bill McDonnell said that NSW was well placed for many of our agricultural industries to benefit from this agreement.

“Existing tariffs of up to 300 per cent will be eliminated on key Australian agricultural exports including beef, wheat, sugar, dairy, wine, horticulture and seafood,” he said.

“This is good news for our beef farmers who currently face a 5.4 percent disadvantage against US imports.”

Korea is a major export market for NSW agriculture. In 2011-12 Australia exported $159 million in beef (25 percent of Australia’s total beef exports) to Korea and $152 million in wheat (just over 25 percent of Australia’s total wheat exports) to the Republic of Korea.

Mr McDonnell said the agreement also contained duty free access for Australian cheese imports which currently faced a 36 percent tariff.

He said that while NSW only made up 7 percent of the total Australian cheese production, any increased market opportunities would potentially have indirect benefits to dairy farmers in NSW and could also open up new opportunities for cheese production in NSW.

“While these trade deals do not necessarily mean a direct increase in the money in the farmer’s pocket, over time they help secure increased demand for our goods which can eventually lead to better prices for farmers,” Mr McDonnell said.

“It is a great sign for our agriculture industry that the Korean FTA is progressing and we now await further developments on other major agreements with Australia’s other big agricultural export markets of China and Japan,” he concluded.

NSW Farmers noted that the deal did not include all agricultural commodities, notably rice, although the agriculture industry had long advocated for trade agreements to be all-inclusive.

National Farmers Federation and other peak agricultural councils have played a strong role in these negotiations advocating on behalf of Australian farmers and we will continue to support the work they do.

Contact: Veneta Chapple

Phone: 0429 990 218

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