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Australian farm groups urge government to reject EU trade agreement, labeling it as disadvantageous.

Australian Farm Groups Urge Government to Reject EU Trade Deal

Industry Concerns

Australian farm industry groups have called on the government to reject a trade deal with the European Union (EU) unless it provides greater market access for Australian agricultural products. The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) expressed concerns that signing a “dud deal” would disadvantage Australian farmers in the global market for years to come. The NFF president, Fiona Simson, stated that the EU has yet to offer a commercially meaningful agreement that benefits the Australian agricultural sector.

Trade Negotiations

Australia, a major exporter of farm goods, including wheat, beef, wool, and wine, has been engaged in trade talks with the EU since 2018. In July, Canberra walked away from a deal it deemed inadequate for its farmers, but negotiations have since resumed. Trade Minister Don Farrell is scheduled to meet his EU counterpart at a G7 trade ministers’ meeting in Osaka, their first face-to-face encounter since July.

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Farmers’ Demands

The NFF and other industry groups, such as Meat and Livestock Australia, insist that the trade deal must be improved before being signed. They criticize the EU’s position on red meat quotas as highly restrictive. The Australian farming community is united in its message to the government: if it’s a dud deal, don’t sign it. Farmers fear that a disadvantageous agreement would hinder their competitiveness against other global exporters.

Australia’s Stance

Trade Minister Don Farrell emphasized that while Australia seeks a trade agreement with the EU, it won’t settle for just any deal. He stressed the importance of practical benefits for Australian businesses, including improved market access for farmers and producers. Both sides have not disclosed their negotiating positions, but recent reports indicate that proposed EU import quotas for Australian sugar are commercially unviable.

Potential Gains

Australia aims to secure access to EU markets for its agricultural output, which currently faces tariffs and quotas. In return, the EU is likely to gain simplified investment access to Australia’s critical minerals industry. The negotiations will determine the balance of benefits for both sides.

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In conclusion, Australian farm industry groups are urging the government to prioritize the interests of farmers and reject a trade deal with the EU unless it offers substantial market access for agricultural products. The ongoing negotiations will shape the future of trade relations between Australia and the EU, impacting the competitiveness of the Australian farming sector.

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