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Ludwig to Reinforce Agriculture Trade Ties in North Asia

08 December 2011

AUSTRALIA - Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, will seek to strengthen Australia's $12.6 billion agricultural trade relationship with North Asia as a part of a three nations visit this week.

Minister Ludwig, who will visit China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, will be joined by a delegation of representatives from Australia’s cattle, cotton, fodder, grain, wool, and seafood industries.

“China, Japan and the Republic of Korea are significant trading markets for Australia’s primary industries,” Minister Ludwig said.

“The trading relationship between Australia and North Asia is already strong, especially in terms of agricultural exports such as wool, beef, wheat, dairy, and horticultural produce.

“With demand for Australian produce growing and barriers to trade decreasing, it’s important Government and industry work to maintain this close trading relationship and ensure producers, processors and consumers continue to benefit from the valuable opportunities it presents.”

The combined value of Australia’s agricultural, fisheries and forestry exports to China, Japan and the Republic of Korea was more than 35 per cent of Australia’s total agricultural exports in 2010–11.

Minister Ludwig said the Gillard Government will continue to pursue bilateral and regional agreements, ensuring Australian farmers can continue to increase exports of their world–class products across the globe.

“Australia continues to encourage reform of global agricultural markets through multilateral trade liberalisation,” Minister Ludwig said.

“Bilateral and regional agreements, such as the Trans–Pacific Partnership (TPP), can complement these efforts. The TPP is an important regional initiative to create a comprehensive, ambitious FTA that will eliminate tariff and other barriers to trade and investment.

“This will be great news for Australian farmers. It will mean improved access to export markets and greater trading potential.”

While in China, Australia’s largest agricultural export market, Minister Ludwig will discuss the strong bilateral agricultural relationship between Australia and China, and finalise a number of export protocols.

In Japan, Minister Ludwig will see firsthand the impact of the recent tsunami on Japan’s agricultural production. The Minister will also speak to members of the National Diet of Japan, advocating agricultural trade liberalisation and highlighting the importance of agriculture in ongoing Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations.

In the Republic of Korea, the Minister will look at how to enhance cooperation on agriculture, and underline Australia’s position regarding agriculture in the ongoing FTA negotiations.

In all three countries, Minister Ludwig will attend events promoting Australian agricultural exports including beef, horticulture, wheat and wine.

Cattle Council of Australia president, Andrew Ogilvie, said industry delegates are accompanying the Minister on the trip which has clear benefits for Australian producers.

“This is an excellent opportunity for Minister Ludwig and industry delegates to represent the interests of Australian farmers in key markets,” Mr Ogilvie said.

“North Asia is a critical market for not only Australia’s cattle industry, but a host of Australian agricultural businesses.”

Australia’s agricultural exports contribute over $35 billion to Australia’s strong economy, while supporting more than 300,000 jobs in regional Australia.

Minister Ludwig will visit China from 7–10 December, Japan from 10–13 December and the Republic of Korea from 13–14 December. Industry delegates include the Cattle Council of Australia, Australian Wool Innovation, Cotton Australia, Seafood Services Australia, the Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association, Grains Industry Market Access Forum, and the Australian Fodder Industry Association.

TheCropSite News Desk

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