Grain Producers Australia (GPA) welcomes today’s announcement of Federal Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister, Dan Tehan, signing the UK free trade agreement.
GPA Chief Executive, Colin Bettles, said the Australian Government securing the deal, to remove trade barriers on farm exports, provided good news for Australian grain producers and communities.
“When it enters into force, this deal will provide better market access to more than 65 million UK consumers. Duty-free quotas will be available immediately, with tariffs fully eliminated over four years, for Australian grains such as wheat and barley,” he said.
“Traditionally the UK has not been a big volume market for Australian grains, but this deal also delivers economic benefits by removing tariffs and restrictions imposed on other commodities such as sheep meat and wool, which many Australian grain producers often also grow, sell and export.
“Indirectly, this will also increase grain usage opportunities in Australia through livestock feeding and value adding businesses associated with the grains industry.
“GPA supports governments pursuing initiatives which strengthen fair trade and bolster market access, to help boost the profitability and sustainability of Australian grain producers.”
Mr Bettles said GPA also welcomed news the UK trade agreement will enhance access to skilled workers needed in the Australian grains industry, from Northern Hemisphere countries, by increasing the working holiday visa age limit to 35.
“COVID has clearly shown the Australian grains industry needs greater access to workers with the skill and experience needed to hit the ground running and perform, to meet surge capacity requirements during peak operating periods such as harvest and seeding,” he said.
“GPA along with our State Members will continue to pursue outcomes that meet work-force needs, to protect and support the profitability of Australian grain producers.”
Mr Bettles said GPA also noted Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud’s comments that the agreement also establishes closer cooperation on biosecurity, animal welfare and antimicrobial resistance that will not impact Australia’s standards or right to regulate in these critical areas.
Outcomes for wheat, barley and other cereals
• full elimination of tariffs over 4 years
• immediate access for wheat to a duty-free quota of 80,000 tonnes per year
• immediate access for barley to a duty-free quota of 7,000 tonnes per year
* Tariffs of up to 79GBP/tonne hamper Australia’s current exports to the UK, worth just $4.1 million.