Grain farmers in Australia welcome negotiations for Pacific Alliance FTA

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-03 11:48:53|Editor: Mengjie
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SYDNEY, July 3 (Xinhua) -- Australia's grain farming industry has lent their support to the Federal Government on Monday, after Trade Minister Steven Ciobo announced plans to negotiate a free trade deal with the Pacific Alliance on Saturday.

Any move to liberalize trade and open doors in the block of Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Peru is welcomed by the industry, GrainGrowers trade & economics manager Luke Mathews said in a statement obtained by Xinhua.

"Pacific Alliance grain consumption exceeds 84 million tonnes a year and is growing at nearly 4.5 percent per annum, driven by strong population growth (currently 224 million and rising) and changing diets," Mathews said.

At the moment the four countries import around half of their total consumption of grains, at 41 million tonnes.

But according to GrainGrowers, the growth rate is forecast to rise 7.4 percent per year, offering vast opportunity for Aussie exporters looking to do business in the region.

"Farmers are eyeing the countries' combined population of 224 million, which has largely gone untapped as an export market despite the alliance importing 780 billion U.S. dollars in goods and services last year," Ciobo said at the 12th Presidential Summit of the Pacific Alliance in Colombia.

Although most of the grain trade in the Latin region is dominated by U.S. corn suppliers, Australia has a modest foothold exporting oats into Mexico.

"Even our modest presence in this large market is worth on average 23.5 million Australian dollars (18.04 million U.S. dollars) a year," Matthews said.

"The current and future success of the Australian grain industry depends on strong open and fair market access for our exports and GrainGrowers will always welcome efforts to achieve this."

"Further reductions in both bound and applied tariff rates resulting from a Pacific Alliance FTA would further benefit our efforts to supply these markets."