Australia has recorded strong increases in agricultural exports across the board after the first six months of the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA).
Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said tariff cuts gained under KAFTA were boosting agriculture exports, Australian jobs and farmgate returns and were another powerful reminder of how critical free trade deals including the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement will be for our nation’s future.
“Tariff cuts gained under KAFTA have seen exports boom—beef exports to Korea have increased a massive 30 per cent in value for the first six months of 2015 compared with the same period last year, to $551 million.
“The reduction of a 22.5 per cent tariff on goatmeat to 18 per cent has seen incredible growth in export volume since KAFTA came into force, up 43 per cent so far this year, compared with the same time last year. In the first half of 2015, Korea is now Australia’s third largest goatmeat market worth $7.3 million. Under KAFTA, goatmeat tariffs will reach zero by 2024.
“The elimination of the 24 per cent tariff on cherries to Korea has seen Tasmanian cherry exports grow from virtually zero in 2014 before KAFTA’s entry into force to over $3.5 million in the first seven months of the agreement—that’s an increase of almost 5000 per cent!
“Tariff reductions on table grapes from 45 per cent to 18 per cent for our export season combined with finalisation of the table grape health protocol has seen nearly $2 million worth of exports this year from a zero base.
“In the first six months of 2015, macadamia exports to Korea increased 117 per cent to 302 tonnes compared to the same period in 2014, now worth $6.3 million—this is largely due to the almost halving of the tariffs from 30 per cent to 18 per cent.
“Wine exports to Korea doubled to $8.9 million so far this year, compared with the same period in 2014.
“Tariff reductions across a range of dairy products have seen Australia’s dairy export volumes to Korea increase 13 per cent in the first half of 2015 compared with the same period in 2014. Exports of processed cheese, butter and dairy spreads are all up, 49 per cent, 82 per cent and 108 per cent respectively.”
Minister Joyce said trade deals were important in achieving a competitive advantage for Australian farmers in a global market and that Labour and their union paymasters should take note of the significant benefits they deliver.
“Australia is very well positioned to supply markets in Asia—our reliable clean, green reputation, high quality produce and proximity to big importers in the region are big advantages—but we also have stiff competition from other nations in these markets,” Minister Joyce said.
“Korea is an important destination for Australian agricultural exports—one of the top five importers of our agricultural products—but high tariffs have been a barrier for our exporters in the past.
“Trade agreements—like those signed with Korea, Japan and China—can give our farmers a competitive edge over other agricultural exporting nations in the region, and give our producers the best possible conditions to get a fair return for their products.
“Australia is a trading nation—and this Australian Government understands that, and works hard to pursue the best possible trading conditions for our exporters.”
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