Opinion

RMAC: Why working together to protect Australia’s market access is critical

Don Mackay, RMAC, October 17, 2018

As the Australian beef industry faces new challenges to market access in key export destinations, such as the EU and China, Red Meat Advisory Council Independent Chair Don Mackay outlines the importance of industry and government working collectively to protect Australian interests, and why diverse and broad market access has never been more important.

RMAC independent chair Don Mackay 

THE Australian red meat and livestock industry is 70 percent trade orientated, exporting to over 100 trading partners and our product is enjoyed by millions of diverse customers worldwide.

Red meat relationships are established over an extended period of time and stability is integral to ensuring customer confidence.

Losing one market, or having our market access threatened, has significant economic impacts throughout Australia’s red meat supply chain, from farm to fork.

The potential loss of beef access to the EU via the grainfed quota is one example of this; as is the ongoing chilled access issue into China.

In both instances the industry works with the Australian Government and their diplomatic team, both in-market and in Australia to resolve these issues.

Our industry has always taken an extremely disciplined approach to freer trade that has been complemented by trade negotiators and both sides of politics.

For the European Union, both economic and technical access issues, industry recognises the need to work together through the EU Red Meat Market Access Taskforce, comprised of producers, lot feeders, processors, exporters and industry service providers.

This has the sole purpose of providing commercial advice and an industry-wide position to the Australian Government and the international community.

Industry has traditionally been successful in working with  governments on outstanding market access gains like the “Big 3” Asian trade agreements and in securing additional resources in market like DAWRs six new agricultural counsellors.

We have also championed genuine free trade principles and recognise that in a global community trade is a two way street.

In the current growing environment of trade protectionism, the ability of the Australian red meat industry and Australian Government to influence broader geopolitics may be increasingly limited, and this is why diverse and broad market access is more important than ever.

The success of our market access has always hinged on collective efforts of industry; and we must continue to work together in order to realise these gains.

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Comments

  1. Paul Wright, October 18, 2018

    Cattle Producers Australia (CPA) recognise the benefits of a combined governmental industry approach to market access. However, until we have true representation, we are likely to remain at the bottom of the priority list. I urge cattle producers to get behind CPA, a democratic and truly representative cattle producer organisation. CPA calls on producers and industry to stand together and demand that the Australian Government do all that is in its power to protect access to the 481 Grain Fed Beef Quota.

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