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Agriculture

  • Two thirds of all agricultural tariffs - including in
    important commodities such as lamb, sheep meat and
    horticultural products, were eliminated immediately.
  • A further 9 per cent of tariffs were cut to zero in
    2008.
  • AUSFTA provides greater access to the US market for two
    of Australia's key agricultural export industries, beef and
    dairy.
  • Australia's quarantine and food safety regimes, which
    ensure our health and our environment are protected, are not
    affected by the Agreement.

Summary

AUSFTA provides greater market access for the majority of
Australia's agricultural exporters - including for the beef and
dairy industries - who have faced restrictive barriers in the
US market.

Dairy

Under AUSFTA, Australia's dairy quotas were increased
by nearly three times the previous quota in year one, with
ongoing growth in the quotas at an average yearly rate of 5 per
cent.

The increase is across the board for all dairy products
constrained by quotas, providing new market opportunities for
dairy processors and producers.

The biggest market access gains are for products where the
Australian dairy industry is most competitive and sees the
largest prospects for growth. The Agreement includes access for
dairy products previously excluded from the US market, such as
certain cheeses, butter, milk, cream and ice-cream products.
Examples include 7.5 million litres of milk, ice-cream and
cream, and 2000 tonnes of European type cheeses.

In addition, Australia gained significant increases in quota
access for whole-milk powder (used primarily in bakery and
confectionary products), from 0 to 4,000 metric tonnes.

Beef

The AUSFTA provides greater access for Australia's leading
agricultural export to the United States. In addition to the
substantial WTO quota that Australia already holds, our
additional beef access will increase to 70,000 tonnes in year
18, and from 2023 will become effectively free trade.

In-quota tariffs were eliminated immediately upon entry into
force, and over-quota duties will be phased out from years 9 to
18 of the Agreement.

Tariff-only products

Tariffs on the majority of agricultural products, including
most lamb and sheepmeat, and products such as oranges, cut
flowers and cotton seeds, were eliminated from day 1 of the
Agreement. Further elimination of other tariffs is
taking place over periods of 4, 10 and 18 years.

The bulk of our lamb and sheep meat exports gained immediate
tariff-free access, clearing the way for continued success in a
market where Australian producers see great potential over the
long term.

The elimination of tariffs means that agricultural sectors
such as horticulture can look to the US market as a serious
commercial prospect. Horticulture is a growing export
industry and should benefit over-time from new access
opportunities in the AUSFTA.

The Agreement does not change current arrangements for
Australian access for Australian sugar or sugar related
products.

Last Updated: 31 December 2012
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