AUSTRALIA: Bundaberg growers happy with Peru trade deal

Published: 02/13/2018, 7:52:47 AM

Bundaberg cane farmers are excited following the signing of the Peru-Australia Free Trade Agreement that will initially see 30,000 tonnes of sugar exported from Australia to Peru, according to Australia's News Mail.

PAFTA was signed on Monday and will eliminate 99.4% of tariffs that exporters face into Peru, putting our farmers on equal footing with foreign competitors.

Under the agreement, Australian exports of sugar, dairy, rice, sorghum, sheep meat, wine, kangaroo, almonds, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, paper products and machinery will have immediate tariff-free access.

Alloway cane farmer Dean Cayley said the FTA came at a fortuitous time for the sugar industry as a surplus of sugar across the world had seen prices drop.

"I think it gives the sugar industry more confidence because the world price is not looking too crash at the moment," he said.

"Opening up more markets may help us negotiate a better price."

Bundaberg Canegrowers chairman Allan Dingle said the more FTAs that could be negotiated the better off industries such as sugar would be.

Dingle said the PAFTA announcement was good news after US President Donald Trump withdrew from the negotiations process over the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

"There were some real opportunities there," he said. "It could have been quite lucrative for Queensland producers."

But the TPP did lock in greater trade access for Australia to markets worth almost A$10 trillion combined, including Japan, Canada, Mexico, Malaysia, Singapore, Chile, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei.

Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said the first year's access of 30,000 tonnes of sugar into Peru would grow to 60,000 tonnes in year five and to 90,000 tonnes by year 18.

"Peru is one of the fastest growing economies and regions in the world and this new trade deal is a huge win for farmers right across Hinkler, creating expanded export opportunities for our sugar and horticulture sectors," Pitt said.