The prospect of a high quality market access deal on beef with the signing of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been welcomed by the Cattle Council of Australia.
The historic partnership marks the elimination of 98 per cent of tariffs among 12 countries and was signed in New Zealand on February 4.
The comprehensive, trade liberalising deal addresses new and traditional trade issues in the region, and will co-exist with existing free trade agreements.
Billed as the world’s most significant trade and investment agreement, the first round of TPP negotiations was held in Melbourne in March 2010.
TPP Member countries comprise Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.
In 2013, the population of the member countries was 798.5 million with a gross domestic product of US$27.75 trillion or 37.5 per cent of global GDP.
The member countries represent 32 per cent of Australia’s total trade.
Beef is among the Australian commodities of dairy, sugar, rice, grains and wine expected to obtain new levels of access on the back of reduced tariffs worth $4.3 billion.
Cattle Council of Australia president Howard Smith said the nation had much to gain from trade reform.
Mr Smith said the TPP, once ratified, would provide more seamless trade rules, reduced costs and less red tape leading to new and substantial market access opportunities.
He said the game changing deal would remove tariffs hampering the response to the world’s growing appetite for high quality beef products.
“It will provide beef producers, processors and exporters with new opportunities across much of the Asia Pacific region,’’ Mr Smith said.
“The timely completion of domestic legal and approval processes will subsequently enable members to deliver on the vision of a next generation regional agreement addressing new and traditional trade issues and 21st century challenges.’’
Cattle Council has worked within the framework of the International Beef Alliance to advocate substantial trade liberalisation.
Alliance members had urged TPP negotiating teams to deliver an agreement to streamline business, establish fair trade rules and reduce supply chain costs.
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