AgForce has called on the European Union – one of the world’s largest consumers of red meat – to play fair when it comes to international trade.
CEO Michael Guerin said the EU’s heavily protected and subsidised beef industry – which is largely a by-product of their dairy industry – was severely curtailing export opportunities for Australia’s cattle producers, who don’t enjoy the same benefits.
“Today, I stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the National Farmers’ Federation to tell the Federal Government that enough is enough, that this completely lopsided and unfair playing field with the EU has to be levelled,” Mr Guerin said.
“The EU is one of the biggest producers and largest consumers of red meat, but the fact their industry enjoys heavy subsidies and import protections gives them an incredibly unfair advantage.
“This international injustice has been hurting Queensland’s beef industry for decades.
“Cattle President Will Wilson and I spent an hour with Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham this morning highlighting the importance of trade for farmers at the grass roots and outlining exactly what Queensland beef producers expect from the EU.
- fair access to European consumers for our high quality, sustainable beef
- fair trade rules, no more tariffs and quotas, just the same conditions European beef producers have to enter Australia, and
- immediate action to protect our increasingly large and important Asia-Pacific markets from being flooded with highly subsidised, inferior quality red meat from the EU.
“We respect the negotiation process, we understand the EU is sensitive about agri-imports, and we stand willing to collaborate on a mutually beneficial solution.
“These trade conditions will last for decades. Our negotiators need to understand the future livelihood of many families living in our regions depends on it.
“That’s why we need a significant result and why we need to get this right.
“The post-Brexit negotiations with the EU offer Australian producers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to significantly improve their access to world markets and they are ready to meet consumer demand.
“We don’t yet know the outcomes of our advocacy, but we will continue to push this issue hard on behalf of Queensland beef producers.
“We are hopeful that the results of our advocacy will be a proud legacy to leave our children as Australian agriculture sets its sights on a $100 million farmgate value by the end of this decade.”
Source: AgForce Queensland