August 26, 2013

MEDIA RELEASE: Canegrowers Australia

Sugar could prove just the sweetener the latest trade negotiations need to unlock the current export market access impasse.
At round 19 of Trans-Pacific Partnership  (TPP) negotiations being held in Brunei this week, United States negotiators will find they are unlikely to be able to achieve their own objectives of improving access to other markets for dairy and other agricultural industries, if they are unwilling to show leadership on market access for sugar.
The Australian sugar industry is part of the National Farmers’ Federation led Australian agricultural delegation attending the Brunei meetings, the first to include Japan as a full negotiating partner.
CANEGROWERS message is clear. “A TPP agreement must include commercially worthwhile new market access opportunities for sugar, with annual increases thereafter, until open access is achieved,” specifies CANEGROWERS Acting CEO Ron Mullins.
Like other Australian agricultural industries, the sugar industry has said it will not support a TPP outcome that doesn’t include commercially meaningful market access gains for all agricultural products.  
“There is no place for tariffs, quotas or other trade restrictions for any production in a 21st century trade agreement,” says Mullins. “This means there can be no carve outs or exclusions of any agricultural products.”
80% of Australian sugar is exported. Australian sugarcane farmers are the only sugarcane producers in the world who don’t operate with subsidies or price supports.
“For too long, sugar has been left out of key trade agreements,” says Mullins. “Growers can’t sell their sugar if they don’t have access to international markets.”
He says access to export markets is a critical issue for the Australian sugarcane industry, and that CANEGROWERS has made trade one of its five key platforms coming up to the 7 September election.  CANEGROWERS has called on the incoming government to prioritise completing the Australia – Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in 2013 and complete the Australia – Japan FTA and Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiation by 2014.
Media comment:         Ron Mullins  |  CANEGROWERS Acting CEO  |  0417 790 156
More information:      Suzi Moore  |  CANEGROWERS Communications  |  0427 641 239
COMMENT from Canadian Sugar Institute:
The Canadian sugar industry supports an ambitious TPP outcome that is comprehensive and avoids product exclusions. Many other free trade agreements have protected “sensitive” agricultural commodities like sugar. Trade liberalization under the TPP must enhance Canadian exports of refined sugar and sugar-containing products and must avoid restrictive rules of origin that would preclude market access for Canadian products. The Canadian and Australian sugar industries work collaboratively with other like-minded sugar groups in the Global Alliance for Sugar Trade Reform and Liberalisation to advocate for sugar market liberalisation globally.