NEW markets have opened for beef and sugar cane producers in the North after a landmark Peru-Australia Free Trade Agreement was signed this week.
Townsville based Senator Ian Macdonald said the PAFTA would create new markets for North Queensland farmers who had previously been locked out.
“It is wonderful news for the north and north-west, it’s very big for sugar and beef,” Mr Macdonald said.
“This Peru-Australia free trade agreement goes far beyond the Trans Pacific partnership, this new agreement will eliminate 99 per cent of the tariff that Australian exporters face getting to Peru.
“Peru is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and will provide enormous opportunity for local producers, particularly those in the sugar industry.”
Mr Macdonald said the agreement would pave the way for Australian sugar growers to provide up to 90,000 tonne annually; more than another other sugar exporting country has achieved into Peru in the last 20 years and equivalent to roughly 30 per cent of Peru’s sugar import.
“Australia will have duty free access of 30,000 tonnes of sugar into Peru immediately, 60,000 within five years and 90,000 tonne within 18 years,” he said.
Canegrowers CEO Dan Galligan said said while initial annual exports to Peru may be a small percentage of Australian’s annual production of over 4 million tonne, it opened up new opportunities for Australian sugar.
“The aim of the game is always about market access, it opens another growing market in Latin America,” Mr Galligan said.
“We’re always looking at free trade and opening markets, time will tell how profitable it will be. It depends on the trade at the time, but it could be tens of millions of dollars over the next five to six years, depending on the commerce.
“The door is open now at least to accept the sugar, it’s a really important start.”
Beef producers will also win with the current 17 per cent tariff to be eliminated within five years.
“Peru supermarkets already asking about putting Aussie beef on their shelves,” Mr Macdonald said.
“This deal is excellent news for beef and sugar producers in the North and should be welcomed by all Northerners.”
AgForce Cattle President Bim Strauss said AgForce welcomed new markets for Queensland beef.
“Beef is among the industries that will benefit and to eliminate all tariffs with five years will put Queensland beef producers on equal footing with foreign competitors, particularly the US.
“The agreement allows us to better compete in the Peruvian market and support opportunities for expanded trade into broader Latin American regions.”
Seafood, sheep and kangaroo meat, wine and grain will also have tariffs cut in the short to medium term, as will commodities such iron-ore, copper and nickel.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said the agreement would put Australian farmers on equal footing with foreign competitors.
“This is fantastic news, putting more cash in the pockets of our hard-working farmers while building on our $435 million two-way trade with Peru,” Ms Landry said.
Tariffs which were currently at 9 per cent for seafood, most horticulture products, and wheat would be cut immediately.
Ms Landry said 15,000 tonnes of sorghum would also be accepted, with the volume growing to 20,000 tonnes (capped amount) in year five.
Peru has emerged as one of the fastest growing economies in the last decade, and the fastest in Latin America.
It has the same GCP as Vietnam of about $190 billion and the same consumer base as Malaysia of 30 million people.