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Australian Cattle Council : Yearbook 2008
page 19 C aTTL e COUNCIL OF a USTR a LI a Y ea RBOOK 2008 CaTTLe COUNCIL’S TRaDe ageNDa as an export-focused industry, the australian beef sector has a significant interest in the international trading system and, in particular, the rules that govern trade. australian beef producers are reliant on returns that can be achieved in international markets, and therefore changes in world trading conditions directly impact on- farm prosperity. Beef producers are strongly affected by import arrangements, such as tariffs, quotas and non-tariff barriers. as such, Cattle Council endeavours to work towards the progressive reduction of market access barriers impacting our products. Key objectives of CCa’s trade agenda include: • the maintenance of access to existing export markets; • removing existing trade barriers and thus improving or gaining access to new markets; and • ensuring new barriers don’t impinge on future export market opportunities. In this regard, Cattle Council, in association with other industry partners, undertakes ongoing trade advocacy by liaising with australian government Ministers, the Department of Foreign affairs and Trade and the Department of agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry as well as government officials and trade representatives in our key export markets. BILaTeRaL & RegIONaL TRaDe NegOTIaTIONS In addition to the WTO negotiations, it is crucial to encourage the australian government to pursue those bilateral free trade agreements (FTas) that are of value to the australian beef industry. australia has already secured FTas with New zealand, Singapore, Thailand and the United States of america – the latest two providing immediate reductions in import barriers facing australian beef. Currently australia is involved in FTas with a range of other trading partners including: • the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in conjunction with New zealand; • Malaysia; • the Middle East based Gulf Cooperation Council; • Chile; • China; and • Japan. additionally, economic feasibility studies are underway for South Korea, Indonesia and India with joint experts establishing dialogue in relation to Mexico. In all FTas, Cattle Council’s position is to achieve substantial improvements in market access arrangements for australian beef. a priority for the beef industry is to expedite the pursuit of an FTa with South Korea. The recently concluded (although yet to be ratified and implemented) United States-Korea FTa will see australia’s major competitor in the Korean market gain a preferential tariff advantage with the 40% tariff on US beef being reduced to zero over a 15 year implementation period. Unless reciprocal arrangements are secured for australian beef, our current market share in Korea (our third most important beef export market valued at $800 million in 2007) will be placed under significant pressure: parity of access must be achieved. Our aim is to ultimately secure parallel and simultaneous tariff reductions and thereby minimise australia’s competitive disadvantage. Urgent advocacy is currently underway to highlight this issue amongst constituencies in both australia and Korea. In looking to the future, CCa will endeavour to work towards the progressive reduction of the tariff and non- tariff barriers faced in export markets. photo by Sonya Har vey , Courtesy of a H a