REDUCED tariffs into the lucrative Japanese market headline a host of benefits for the Australian grains industry from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP-11), according to Grain Growers trade and economics manager Luke Mathews.
Mr Mathews said Australia would benefit from reduced tariffs and additional quota access in Japan for a number of major exports, such as wheat, barley, barley malt and canola oil.
However, he said the boost to the Australian grains sector from TPP went well beyond the headline numbers.
“One of the outcomes of TPP that has not received many headlines is the impact it will have in harmonising trade among the 11 participating nations,” Mr Mathews said.
“It will be so much easier for businesses to facilitate trade and will definitely be of economic benefit for Australian grain producers, although quantifying those benefits is more difficult than the figures you can see from removing tariffs.”
With these advantages clear, Mr Mathews urged the Australian government to ratify the deal as quickly as possible.
“We’d love to see the government just get on and formalise this deal, we think it is going to be very good for Australia.”
Mr Mathews said the members of the TPP-11 represented a large proportion of Australian grain exports.
“The average value of Australian grain exports to TPP-11 members over the past five years is $A1.6 billion, contributing some 15-20 per cent of all Australian grains exports.”
“Several TPP-11 countries are individually critically important for the Australian grains industry.
“The TPP-11 includes three of Australia’s most important grain export markets, being Vietnam, 1.6 million tonnes, Japan 1.5m tonnes and Malaysia, 940,000t.”
Mr Mathews said that Australia’s grain trade to the region is dominated by wheat, four million tonnes, followed by barley, 382,000t, and canola 216,000t.
He said the TPP would help improve existing Australia’s bilateral trade agreements with other signatories to the deal.
“We welcome the fact that TPP-11 builds upon the market access gains delivered by the existing trade preferential trade agreements Australia already has with a number of TPP-11 countries,” Mr Mathews said.
Commenting on speculation US president Donald Trump is toying with the idea of attempting to re-join TPP negotiations, Mr Mathews said if the United States re-entered the TPP, Australia would lose its competitive edge for a number of agricultural commodities in TPP markets, including grains.