Pacific trade deal hailed

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Jenne BrammerThe West Australian
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Australian farmers will benefit from wider market access after a landmark trade agreement with Asia Pacific nations.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership builds on existing trade agreements, further reduces trade barriers and creates new export opportunities for food and fibre.

It includes some of the world's biggest economies - the US, Japan, and Canada - as well as Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, Mexico and Australia.

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said the TPP provided significant advantages for Australian agriculture, with major improvements to access for beef, dairy, grains, cotton, sugar, horticulture, rice, seafood and wine across 11 countries, five of which are among Australia's top 10 trading partners.

Australian farmers exported about $15 billion of agricultural goods to TPP countries in 2014, representing about a third of total exports of agricultural products, and this is set to increase as a result of the agreement.

The TPP will eliminate 98 per cent of tariffs on Australian exports to TPP countries and create longer-term benefits for Australian farmers beyond those that can be achieved in bilateral free-trade agreements, especially in the three countries where Australia has no agreements in place - Canada, Mexico and Peru.

Over time, the TPP will also provide an opportunity to include other economies in the Asia-Pacific, according to the National Farmers Federation.

Although the agreement does not deliver on the aspirations of all industries, Mr Joyce said he was pleased with the outcome.

"The negotiation isn't an endpoint - it's a beginning of a new relationship with TPP countries and one which we will use to continue to press for improved market access for our producers and exporters," Mr Joyce said.

_COMMODITIES _

·Red meat: Beef tariffs will be further reduced in Japan and Mexico and price safeguards in the US will be eliminated. Tariffs on sheep meat exports to Mexico will be eliminated in eight years and from day one of the agreement coming into effect in all other TPP countries.

·Grain: New quota volumes will be created for wheat and barley exports to Japan under the simultaneous buy-sell mechanism, which were worth about $481 million in 2014. It will also provide new quota access for roasted malt exports, while tariffs on exports of Australian wheat and barley to Mexico will be eliminated.

·Wool: All remaining tariffs on Australian raw wool and cotton exports to TPP countries will be eliminated from day one of the agreement coming into effect and also deliver improved rules of origin for textiles, which will encourage greater demand for Australian fibre products.

·Dairy: The TPP will improve on the Japan-Australia bilateral agreement to eliminate tariffs on certain cheese products, and provide tariff reductions and new quota allocations for other cheese products.

·Horticulture: All Canada's horticulture tariffs and most of Mexico's tariffs will be eliminated on the agreement coming into force and most of Peru's horticulture tariffs (currently up to 17 per cent) after 15 years.

Source: NFF

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