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Australian Cattle Council : Yearbook 2009
CA TTLE COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA YEARBOOK 2009 regional and bilateral agreements Over recent years there has been a proliferation of regional and free trade agreements. So far this year we have seen significant positive progress on a number of fronts. asean-australia-neW Zealand The ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) was signed in Thailand in late February 2009, concluding a negotiating process that commenced in March 2005. The ASEAN countries consist of Burma, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, a region with a combined population of 600 million and GDP in 2008 estimated at A$3.2 trillion. The AANZFTA is the first multi-country FTA that Australia has signed. Significantly, in the agreement, tariffs on most red meat lines will be eliminated or phased down to 0%. Those tariffs already at 0% prior to the FTA are now bound by this recent agreement and will remain in place. In 2008, Australia’s beef and livestock trade with the 10 member countries was worth $722 million to the Australian beef industry. This market represents 4% of Australia’s total beef exports and 69% of total livestock exports. australia-south korea In early March 2009, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the President of the Republic of Korea H.E. Lee Myung-bak announced that negotiations on an FTA will commence in May 2009. Korea is Australia’s third largest export destination for Australian beef, capturing 13% of Australia’s global beef export volume and generating $750 million in returns to the Australian red meat industry. 20 This announcement is particularly important for Australia’s beef producers as the US and South Korea have already concluded FTA negotiations. Once ratified, the US-Korea FTA will see the 40% tariff on US beef being reduced to zero over a 15 year implementation period. Securing import parity for Australian beef in the Korean market will remain a critical focus for the Cattle Council. australia-Japan The Australian beef industry is undertaking advocacy in order to extol the benefits of concluding an FTA with Japan. The eighth round of negotiations on the Australia-Japan FTA was held in Tokyo in March 2009. Australian Government negotiators focus so far has been on agriculture as they endeavour to demonstrate that preferential liberalisation for imports from Australia would not be to the detriment of Japan’s agriculture sector. australia-Chile The Australia-Chile FTA came into force in March 2009 and immediately removed many of Chile’s tariff lines, covering 97% of goods currently traded with Australia. This included the elimination of the 6% tariff previously applicable to red meat and livestock. more ftas on the Way Other key markets that Australia is currently negotiating with include China, Indonesia and the Middle East’s Gulf Cooperation Council. There is clearly a willingness on the part of many of our trading partners to engage in both bilateral and regional trade agreements. Hence, Cattle Council will continue to press the Australian Government to pursue with vigour more liberalised trading relationships. David Inall Executive Director Cattle Council of Australia 1117_CCA Yearbook 2009.indd 20 5/5/09 7:59:57 PM