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Australia : Resilient TPP defies the odds to deliver for farmers

Mar 10, 2018 (Euclid Infotech Ltd via COMTEX) --

It hasnt been without its setbacks, but today the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11) was signed, promising new opportunities for Australia's farmers.

On a day that only a year ago looked like it may never arrive, Trade Minister The Hon. Steve Ciobo MP joined 10 other TPP-11 partners to sign the historic preferential trade agreement in Chile.

National Farmers' Federation (NFF) President Fiona Simson said the wins for agriculture would be wide ranging and highly valuable.

"TPP-11 delivers improved market access for dairy; cotton; barley; beef and live cattle; offal, processed meat and animal fats; sheepmeat; seafood; sugar, wheat; and wine.

"This means farmers have more markets in which they can sell their products.

"It means investment on-farm in jobs, innovation and efficiencies that will flow through to rural and regional economies.

"Trade is good for farmers and its good for Australia as a whole," Ms Simson said.

Under the agreement, tariffs will be eliminated or reduced for a range Australian farm exports in Canada, Mexico, Japan and Vietnam.

"This means Australian food and fibre becomes more competitive in these markets which provides the opportunity to create new, and grow existing markets, that will provide lasting benefit to farmers and all Australians into the future."

Ms Simson said today's signing was a result of commitment by Minster Ciobo and the Federal Government to find a way through the difficulties.

"The TPP was essentially on life support after President Donald Trump withdrew the United States support in early 2017.

"To their credit, Minister Ciobo and his international peers remained committed to seeing these historic negotiations deliver a meaningful agreement," Ms Simson said.

In particular, the TPP-11 provides preferential access to Mexico and Canada for beef, dairy, grain, seafood, sugar and wine for the first time. These markets have been effectively blocked to Australia until now.

"Like other preferential trade agreements already benefiting farmers, the TPP-11 will serve to even the playing field for Australian farmers on the world stage.

In this age of protectionism, the ultimate beneficiaries of this agreement will be the collective 495 million consumers who will enjoy a greater range of products, derived from high quality Australian food and fibre.

The TPP-11 is now subject to a parliamentary review process.

Ms Simson said it was crucial all parties and politicians stood by Australias efforts to open new markets.

"The Parliament now has the chance to scrutinise the terms of the agreement on its merits.

"We ask that they resist the temptation to politicise the review and ratification process, Mr Simson said.

The TPP-11 is a multi-country trade agreement between: Australia; Brunei; Chile; Malaysia; New Zealand; Peru; Singapore; Japan; Vietnam; Mexico; and Canada.

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