The peak agricultural bodies of New Zealand and Australia have united in calling for a truly comprehensive and generally liberalising Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement from day one of implementation.
Federated Farmers of New Zealand and the National Farmers’ Federation of Australia are both participating in the TPP negotiations, currently taking place in Auckland.
“Liberalisation must result in the elimination of all agricultural and food product tariffs and reform non-tariff measures,” says Bruce Wills, President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand.
“If we want to get trade going, especially by small and medium sized agri-business enterprises, then we need all the blocks to free trade removed.
“This outcome must match the political ambition for the TPP.
“Australia and New Zealand want an agreement that is truly 21st century in coverage and design, setting the benchmark for future multilateral, regional and bilateral trade agreements,” Mr Wills said.
Jock Laurie, President of the Australian National Farmers’ Federation, added that from an agricultural perspective, “market access is the core deliverable; agriculture needs to be at the heart of negotiations and the result is a net and sustainable creation of jobs.”
Both national farmers’ organisations also support conclusion of the negotiations in 2013.
“From our perspective, genuine agricultural trade liberalisation in the TPP context is highly important to the agricultural sector’s future prosperity and competitiveness,” Mr Laurie continued.
“A free trade outcome is needed to drive resource efficiency needed to meet the growth of global demand for food and fibre off the back of an increasing world population.
“Improving diets driven by increasing consumer affluence means availability and affordability both become essential criteria in meeting food security needs,” Mr Laurie said.
The New Zealand and Australian agricultural community welcomes additional members into the TPP, provided there is a genuine commitment to open their respective markets and removing behind the border impediments to trade in agricultural and food products.