The Australian red meat industry is eager to sign an FTA with the EU
Representatives of the Australian red meat industry have met with the Ministers for Trade and Agriculture to discuss the evolution of the negotiation process in trade reform with the EU and UK.
The Australia-EU Free Trade Agreement (A-EU FTA) negotiations, a future Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement (A-UK FTA) and the status of current market access arrangements were the main topics as the Brexit still raises concerns and the negotiating process between the EU and the US granted the American producers access for a quota of High Quality – Grainfed beef of 35,000 tonnes, followed by Mercosur deal, with a quota of 99,000 tonnes of beef for the South American producers.
For now, the Australian industry successfully advocated the retention of global shared access to the grainfed quota for an extended period. The changes will be phased in over a 7 year period, with a starting volume of 18,500 tonnes and, even if the US succeeded in securing 35,000 tonnes of access from day one, the EU / UK Red Meat Market Access Taskforce (Taskforce) hopes to gain further advantages in a future trade deal with the EU.
"The HQB-GF outcome is a prime example of this partnership; with the Taskforce working alongside Government and successfully advocating an extended phase-in period for changes to the HQB-GF quota. We look forward to continuing to work with the Australian Government to secure a comprehensive and ambitious FTA outcome with the European Union, and when the UK is ready, in pursuit of liberalized access to the UK, post Brexit", mentioned Andrew McDonald, Incoming Taskforce chairman.
Although Australian red meat exports to Europe complement local production, both in terms of seasonality and the market segment that Australian product fills, the access in this market is seen as hard to access due to low volume import quotas and high above-quota tariffs. In terms of country-specific access, Australian exporters only have access to a 7,150-tonnes high-quality beef quota (with a 20% in quota tariff) and a 19,186-tonne combined sheepmeat/goatmeat quota (0% in quota tariff).
"The FTA negotiations present a real opportunity to modernise our access conditions in the region and address the uneven playing field we currently face, especially in comparison to the preferential access other global red meat exporters have secured with the EU", explained Mr. McDonald.
According to an MLA projection, the EU market worth AU$400 million in opportunities for the Australian red meat industry.