China FTA opens huge opportunities for SA farmers

South Australian agriculture and food industries are poised to reap huge benefits from the historic free trade agreement (FTA) finalised between Australia and China this week.

Senator for South Australia Anne Ruston said key primary industries in the State such as beef, sheep meat, dairy, horticulture, wine, barley and seafood would benefit from the elimination of Chinese tariffs.

“The challenge now is for these industries to get on the front foot in China and ramp up their marketing efforts,” Senator Ruston said. “Many industries are already making an effort in this respect, however this historic agreement opens new opportunities.

“China is already South Australia’s largest foreign trading partner, with two-way trade valued at almost $3.5 billion and South Australian exports valued at more than $2.2 billion – that’s around 20% of our total exports. The FTA not only puts us on an equal footing with other countries which have FTAs with China, but gives us a significant advantage over other major players in the Chinese agricultural market such as the United States and European Union.”

Key agricultural outcomes for South Australia from the FTA include:

  • elimination of beef tariffs of up to 25% within nine years;
  • elimination of sheep meat tariffs of up to 23% within eight years;
  • elimination of all dairy product tariffs (up to 19%) within 11 years, including the 15% tariff on infant milk formula within four years;
  • elimination of horticultural produce (fruit, nuts and vegetables) tariffs of up to 30% within eight years;
  • elimination of wine tariffs of up to 20% within four years;
  • elimination of the 3% tariff on barley immediately; and
  • elimination of seafood tariffs of up to 15% within four years.

“These are great outcomes for South Australian primary producers,” Senator Ruston said. “There are also excellent outcomes for our resource sector, with the elimination of Chinese tariffs on copper and titanium.

"I urge South Australian agricultural industries to take full advantage of the historic opportunities offered by this agreement.”

Senator Ruston also welcomed today’s commitment by Prime Minister Tony Abbott to finalise a free trade agreement with India by the end of 2015.

“India represents a largely untapped market of massive potential for South Australian agricultural industries and today’s commitment by Mr Abbott at Prime Minister Modi’s address to Parliament is very welcome,” she said.

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