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AUSVEG welcomes Australia - Japan FTA

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Peak industry body for Australian vegetable growers, AUSVEG has welcomed the Australia – Japan free trade agreement, stating that it will see various fruit and vegetable commodities flagged for tariff elimination.

AUSVEG spokesperson, Hugh Gurney said that once the FTA is brought into effect, the current three precent tariff on a number of products will be cut.

“Australian horticulture (has) the potential for significant trade growth in Japan, so to see reduced tariffs for products like carrots, asparagus and cabbage will mean that it will be easier for Australian growers to get these products onto the shelves of Japanese supermarkets,” said Gurney.

“This agreement will further assist the Australian vegetable industry to establish trade in Asia, with market access for a greater range of vegetables the next priority for industry in order to take advantage of lower tariffs,” said Mr Gurney.

Other horticultural products such as canned tomatoes and vegetable juice have also been identified to have their tariffs reduced over a five year period.

“AUSVEG enjoys a close working relationship with Austrade and it is hoped that now the FTA has been announced, more and more Australian vegetable growers will explore the Japanese market,” said Gurney.

“Trade with Asian markets will be essential if the Australian vegetable industry is going to expand profitably, so the announcement of this FTA is welcome and represents a great opportunity for our local growers, who grow some of the best produce in the world.”

The Australian Dairy Industry Council however was not as impressed with the FTA’s outcome.

The ADIC’s deputy chairman, Robert Poole said that the agreement provide ‘no meaningful benefit’ to the Australian dairy industry, stating that the industry would only stand to gain $4.7m in the first year of the deal’s implementation, which would then rise to an estimated $11.6m by 2031.

“We are extremely disappointed with the deal announced this evening by the Prime Minister,” said Poole yesterday.

“We were hopeful Government had heeded the industry’s message in regards to freeing up market access in Japan, however it now appears our words fell upon deaf ears."

photo credit: La Citta Vita via photopin cc

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