National Farmers' Federation

Statement on EU free trade negotiations

Comments attributable to NFF Chief Executive, Tony Mahar (Brussels)

Australian negotiators must continue to hold the line to ensure a fair and commercially meaningful deal with the EU.

This was always going to be a tough negotiation. Fair access to the EU market is something the farm sector has sought for decades.

While we appreciate the years of hard work that has brought us to this point, and it would be a shame to see that wasted – we are better to walk away than to agree a dud deal.

We’ve made that point clearly to Minister Farrell here in Brussels. We’ve said to walk away from any deal that doesn’t make good business sense. We’d rather this take a few extra months if necessary.

I’m also talking to colleagues here about the European Commission’s deforestation laws – which read together with a sub-optimal FTA could be a significant step backwards for our trade relationship.

We want a free trade agreement, but we won’t go backwards to get one.

We thank Minister Farrell, Minister Watt and Australia’s hard working negotiating team for their work to date and their collaboration with industry. Now’s the time to hold firm to deliver something meaningful for farmers.