Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)
Australian sugarcane growers welcomed the news of the official signing of the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA) saying it creates certainty for growers and could lead to industry growth in terms of diversification of potential buyers of Aussie products. Once the FTA comes into effect it will give up-front tariff-free access for 80,000 tonnes of Australian sugar to be sold to the UK in the first year increasing by 20,000 tonnes each year for the next eight years.
Canegrowers chairman and Farleigh, near Mackay, sugarcane producer Paul Schembri said having multiple export opportunities was a boost for the industry. Canegrowers chief executive Dan Galligan said even the first-year quota dwarfed what had previously been possible to trade with the European Union, which has a large sugar beet industry. While the UK may not be a big market for Australian grains, the removal of import tariffs imposed on other commodities such as sheep meat and wool, which many Australian grain producers often also grow, sell and export will provide benefits for their farming businesses and communities.
GPA also welcomes the agreement increasing the working holiday visa age limit to 35, to increase access to skilled workers from the Northern Hemisphere to work on grain farms and meet surge capacity labour needs during peak periods such as harvest and seeding. This will provide better access via duty-free quotas and tariffs being fully eliminated over four years for Australian grains such as wheat and barley when the deal comes into force.