National Farmers' Federation

Renewed commitment to the TPP is positive – now it’s time for action

While welcoming a renewed commitment to concluding the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) by the end of 2012, the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has laid down the challenge to world leaders to back up the political rhetoric by concluding an agreement that truly improves the market access environment and lifts prices received for Australia’s farm exports.
“Australia’s farmers are understandably feeling jaded by past hollow promises of an improved trading environment for farm produce through mechanisms such as the TPP,” said NFF President Jock Laurie.
“Yet despite the growing fatigue from hearing the ambition to liberalise trade without the follow up action, there can be no denying the truth in the weekend’s announcement in Honolulu that again points to the importance and benefits of removing protectionism in the Asia Pacific region and beyond.
“The NFF is committed to working with the Australian Government to conclude the TPP next year and will be ensuring that agriculture retains its place as a core pillar of the negotiations.
“Japan’s intention to join the TPP is also a positive sign that it is prepared to stand up to domestic opposition to trade reform and wants to embrace a more open trading environment in the knowledge that it is good for their economy, their consumers, and their domestic industry – including agriculture.
“The NFF has no doubt that Australia’s relationship with Japan will continue to grow and prosper and be enhanced by the conclusion of a comprehensive TPP agreement with Japan as a member.
“Yet Japan must now demonstrate that it is prepared to back up the rhetoric of trade reform and show that they are serious about its intentions to liberalise by concluding its Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Australia – a negotiation that has been going since early 2007.
Also late last week, the NFF was please to see Russia agree to a package of trade reforms, paving the way for its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Mr Laurie added, “Russian accession to the WTO has significant positive implications for Australian agriculture, for which Russia has been a major market for commodities including beef, sheep and lamb skins, dairy and live cattle.
“This will require Russia to constrain its tariffs to commercially significant levels for Australian exporters, reducing the current applied rates for commodities such as sheepmeat, wool, wine, cereals, oilseeds and dairy. The move also improves certainty around the trading environment for our existing trade.
“But like with Japan, the job is only beginning for Russia its must now demonstrate that it is prepared to back up the rhetoric of trade reform and ramp up its reform efforts.”

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