Tariff cuts to benefit farmers

By Jamie Salter

Food exporters will benefit from annual tariff cuts that came into effect on January 1 under free trade agreements with China, Korea and the Pacific.

Federal Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie said since the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement came into force, agriculture, food, fisheries and forestry exports have increased by 60 per cent.

“Remaining tariffs on key commodities will reduce further, including beef tariffs falling to 4.8 to 10 per cent, depending on the cut,” Senator McKenzie said.

“ChAFTA will also see tariffs lowered on dairy products such as milk, milk powder, butter and yoghurt, while our horticulture growers will have an opportunity to build on the record 2018 to 2019 export peak of $3.4 billion with tariffs on oranges and mandarins both falling.

“These reductions follow the most successful export season Australian citrus growers and exporters have had with industry estimating that over 273 000 tonnes worth over $500 million of citrus was exported to China in the 2019 season.”

The Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement will also deliver benefits with the seventh round of tariff reductions.

“Improved outcomes across a range of key commodities — including beef, lamb, barley, cheese and mangoes — will help to protect and improve our competitive position in Korea, helping ensure Australian farmers and businesses have access to prosperous markets into the future,” Senator McKenzie said.

“The Pacific-spanning Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership will also deliver benefits with a further round of tariff reductions in Canada, New Zealand, Mexico, Singapore and Vietnam.”

Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said the trade agreements would reap huge benefits to the Australian economy.

“These latest tariff cuts will deliver an additional competitive edge for our exporters into these key markets, creating more export opportunities and more local jobs around our country,” Senator Birmingham said.

“Continuing to expand opportunities for Australian exporters is a key pillar of our economic plan and builds upon successes that have already fuelled record levels of exports and a record trade surplus.”