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Election 2019: New Government must expedite IA-CEPA ratification & commit to 'going further' on trade

16 April 2019

The National Farmers’ Federation says one of the first acts of a new Government must be the ratification of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA).

Bringing the signed trade deal to fruition is among the key priorities of the NFF this federal election.

NFF CEO Tony Mahar said the ratification of IA-CEPA and the pursuit of an ambitious trade agenda had the support of both parties.

"The Coalition and Labor have long agreed on the need for trade policies that promote Australian exports and drive competitiveness at home. The NFF celebrates the strong bipartisanship we’ve seen on trade for many years."

"But while support is one thing, continued real action is another. We’re calling on both parties to commit to doing more on trade."

Mr Mahar said this included the ratification of the Peru-Australia Free Trade Agreement; putting agriculture’s interests at the heart of negotiations with the European Union and strengthening trade ties with China and India.

"The rapid conclusion of an ambitious agreement with Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership countries and the Gulf Cooperation Council and innovative initiatives to reduce non-tariff barriers must also be priorities."

Mr Mahar said farmers relied on open and secure access to key markets across the globe.

"Australian farmers export two-thirds of what they produce and are among the least subsidised farmers in the world.

"Trade agreements that materially improve access for Australia's food and fibre is money direct into farmers' pockets, benefiting regional communities and the economy as a whole."

Mr Mahar said the importance of IA-CEPA, for example, could not be overestimated.

"Food consumption in Indonesia is predicted to have quadrupled by 2050. Fostering a highly productive trade relationship with Indonesia is a priority for Australian agricultural exporters."

The NFF is calling on a new Government to ensure the trade impacts of all government policies are considered.

"Increasing our international competitiveness and reputation as a reliable supplier of quality products starts at home. This includes infrastructure policy and its direct contribution to improving supply chains; biosecurity policy and its role in maintaining production capacity and our reputation as a supplier of safe and healthy food products.

"Regional development policy that supports the growth of Australia’s agricultural sector is also crucial."

"In the lead up to polling day, the NFF looks forward to hearing from both major party’s on their intentions to do more on trade and specifically, their plans to expedite the ratification of IA-CEPA," Mr Mahar said.

Explore NFF's Agriculture: Growing Australian election priorities at farmers.org.au.

Media Enquiries: Laureta Wallace
P: 0408 448 250
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