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Australian red meat industry welcomes closer trade partnership with the European Union

20 November 2015

The Australian red meat industry welcomes the announcement by Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb (16 November 2015) that Australia and the European Union (EU) will begin procedures to secure a closer bilateral trade partnership – the precursor to launching formal free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations between the two parties.
The commitment made by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and President of the European Council Donald Tusk in the margins of the G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey, will see the EU undertake an impact assessment on the merits of an FTA with Australia.  Both parties will also complete a scoping exercise to define the overall approach to potential negotiations.
The current Australia-EU trade and investment relationship is substantial - with Australia being a lucrative market for the EU and the balance of trade being in the EU’s favour.  The EU is Australia’s second largest trading partner with two-way trade exceeding $80 billion.
“Enhancement of the Australia-EU trading regime, especially making it easier for Australian producers, processors and exporters to service the ongoing demand for beef and sheepmeat products in the EU, would be a most advantageous outcome," the Chairs of the Australian red meat industry peak councils said.
“European consumers value Australia’s beef and sheepmeat products for their consistent and predictable quality.  With the EU being an importer of high quality food products, our industry is ideally positioned to help meet this demand.”
Australia’s current beef and sheepmeat access to the EU is restricted by low volume import quotas and high above quota tariffs[1].  A potential trade enhancing Australia-EU FTA will provide the opportunity to establish a commercially advantageous trading regime - not only for Australian businesses but also for EU importers, wholesalers, distributors, foodservice and retail operators.  Importantly, it would facilitate a more unhindered response to future EU consumer demand.
“An ambitious Australia-EU FTA would boost trade growth, associated jobs and thus prosperity for both parties.  We see the EU as a natural trade partner and we hope that FTA negotiations will begin as soon as possible," the industry said.

  1. Australia’s current beef access to the EU comprises: 7,150 tonnes of country specific High Quality Beef (HQB) quota access with a 20% in-quota tariff; shared access to a 48,200 tonne global grainfed beef quota with a 0% in-quota tariff; and access above these quotas via import duties of 12.8% plus up to €3/kg.  In addition, EU importers have access to a frozen beef quota and a frozen beef for processing quota which are at times used to source Australian product.  Australia’s current sheepmeat access to the EU comprises a 19,186 tonne country specific sheepmeat / goat meat quota with a 0% in-quota duty; and access above this quota via import duties of 12.8% plus up to €3/kg.

Media contacts: 
Red Meat Advisory Council: Angus Hobson, ph. 0487 800 066
Australian Lot Feeders' Association: Dougal Gordon, ph. 0414 495 368
Australian Meat Industry Council: Stephen Martyn, ph. 0409 287 601
Cattle Council of Australia: Heidi Eldridge, ph. 0417 249 506
Sheepmeat Council of Australia: Kathleen Allan, ph. 0437 846 605