ALMOST all Australia’s red meat exports are being realised into countries the nation had free trade agreements with, producers were told at the Meat & Livestock Australia Update in Bendigo yesterday.
MLA’s general manager – international markets, Andrew Cox, said Australia’s red meat industry had a fantastic advantage in export market access.
“It’s a really powerful story that often gets overlooked for example with the media at the moment with the European Union deal falling through and China particularly, the suspensions of beef plants etcetera.”
He said in 2005, Australia had one trade deal, with New Zealand, but now had agreements with the United States, Japan, Korea, China, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, the United Kingdom and India.
He put up a chart that showed the percentage of red meat exports that are covered by a free trade agreement countries, though it didn’t include the UK and India deals data.
“We’re now in a position where the vast majority of our meat exports are covered by a free trade agreement.
“The gap that you see there is for sheep meat down to 74 percent because of the Gulf which we don’t have a free trade agreement with, but the tariffs are not prohibitive,” he said.
“So generally speaking, close enough to 100pc of Australian red meat exports are now covered by a free trade agreement or some preferential trade deal as a strong trading partner.
“So that’s been a big focus of our team over the years and MLA has worked really closely to coordinate industry efforts towards free trade,” he said.
Once markets are open, the main thrust for MLA is to work some of the world’s largest and biggest and best food service operators to help them promote Australian beef, lamb and goat product and make that product identifiable to consumers, he said.