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Australian Cattle Council : Yearbook 2010
18 YEARBOOK 2010 CATTLE COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA Market access and trade report Lowering or removing trade barriers is a long and arduous process and the benefits are often incremental. In a year where some gains were made, it is worth reflecting on the benefits of improved market access and how the benefits flow back through the industry to all producers. NEW QUOTA ACCESS The first new quota provided by the EU for many years was made available to Australia in January 2010. The new quota, arising as the result of a trade dispute, has opened up a market for 20,000 tonnes a year of premium grain- fed beef that carries no import duties. It remains to be seen how much of that 20,000t will be filled by the Australian industry. The quota is allocated to importers, so Australia must compete for quota access with other countries. WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION The biggest access improvements from international trade may come from multilateral trade deals involving the 153 members of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The large number of WTO members means that negotiations are complex, for example the Doha round commenced in 2001 and is still being negotiated. Despite the slow progress of multilateral reform, there are still opportunities to reduce barriers to trade through bilateral agreements. FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) have become an important mechanism to open up new trade opportunities in many markets. Australia is currently in FTA negotiations with two key markets for Australian beef, South Korea and Japan. AUSTRALIA -- KOREA FTA NEGOTIATIONS Earlier this year, Greg Brown and David Inall travelled to Seoul with the objective of progressing trade discussions with Korean officials as well as meeting first hand with key beef importers and retailers. Meetings with our equivalent organisation in Korea, the Hanwoo Association, were postponed due to the industry's response to foot and mouth disease. Korea is our third largest export destination for Australian beef; however, the market has come under increased competition in recent times. Progressing an FTA with South Korea is a top priority for Cattle Council to ensure that we capture every opportunity to remain competitive in this critically important market. The US and Korea have already concluded FTA negotiations; however, this is yet to be ratified by both countries' respective parliaments. Once ratified, this agreement will see the 40% tariff on US beef being reduced to zero over 15 years. Securing at least import parity, if not better, for Australian beef in the Korean market will remain a critical focus for the Cattle Council in 2010. We are hopeful that such an agreement may even be concluded prior to Christmas this year. Cattle Council will continue to develop its relationship with the Hanwoo Association, with the aim of increased cooperation and growing the total demand for beef in Korea for the benefit of beef producers in both countries. AGREEMENTS ALREADY IN FORCE Given the growing focus on bilateral agreements, it is worth reflecting on some of the benefits that are now flowing to industry from agreements that have been struck with some of our trading partners. This year saw the commencement of the ASEAN/Australia/ New Zealand free trade agreement, or AANZFTA. This group of countries includes a number of important and emerging markets for Australian beef. The past year has seen Cattle Council work closely with Meat and Livestock Australia to advance the interests of the Australian beef industry and cattle producers by advocating for tariff reductions and improved market access for Australian beef in overseas markets. Securing at least import parity, if not better, for Australian beef in the Korean market will remain a critical focus for the Cattle Council in 2010.