AUSTRALIA’S leading sheepmeat body has come out in support of Federal Parliament ratifying the China-Australia free trade agreement this year.
Sheepmeat Council of Australia president, Jeff Murray, said the ChAFTA, when fully realized, has the potential to boost the total value of Australia’s sheepmeat sector by over $150 million per annum.
The Federal Government worked hard to deliver a beneficial outcome for our meat trade, but also for the exports of skins and co-products such as offal, tallow, meat and bone meat and pet food exports.
“China currently takes 25 percent of Australia’s sheepmeat exports and nearly 90pc of our sheepskin exports.
“The agreement, which will see the current tariff of 12-25pc on sheepmeat products eliminated over 8 years, offal tariffs of 12-25pc eliminated over 5-10 years and tariffs of 5-15pc on skins eliminated over 5-8 years.”
Mr Murray said economic studies indicated the agreement could substantially increase returns to producers.
“They estimate an increase of sheepmeat prices of 13-26 c/kg (dressed weight, above baseline levels) once the tariff phase out period is completed.”
Mr Murray recently returned from China as part of the business delegation led by Trade Minister Andrew Robb.
“Having the agreement ratified in 2015 will allow us to benefit from a double cut on tariffs – one on entry into force (later in 2015) and the second on 1 January 2016.
“New Zealand sheepmeat products will face zero tariffs on entry into China in 2016, and for Australian sheepmeat to remain competitive, we need the ChAFTA to be effective without delay,” he said.
Source: Sheepmeat Council of Australia