February 21, 2014

Australian, Canadian and New Zealand Sugar call for a high quality, comprehensive TPP agreement

Sugar industry groups in Australia, Canada and New Zealand are joining voices in calling for a high quality, comprehensive outcome for agricultural liberalisation in a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. 

Canegrowers Australia, the Australian Sugar Milling Council, New Zealand's Chelsea Sugar and the Canadian Sugar Institute are concerned at the current state of TPP negotiations. An outcome that does not include commercially worthwhile increases in market access for sugar and other sensitive products must be avoided. The groups are seeking the removal of trade barriers over a short implementation period and the establishment of rules that enable raw sugar, refined sugar and products containing sugar to be freely traded around the region. 

There must be no sector, product or tariff line exclusions within a product group. If any one TPP member country is allowed to claim exceptions for so-called sensitive products, other TPP partners will inevitably demand the right to do the same. 

Trade creates opportunity and creates jobs. It brings people together, lifts incomes and builds strong and vibrant economies and communities based on their underlying strengths. Exclusions would limit opportunities in each of the member countries to reach new markets, grow businesses and generate economic growth and jobs. 

Allowing exceptions even for a few politically sensitive products such as sugar would set a dangerous precedent for the treatment of other products (beef, pork, dairy, rice and grains) and undermine the integrity of the agreement for other countries who aspire to join. 

A weak TPP agreement, with such exclusions, could have significant negative implications on other Free Trade Agreement negotiations underway or in the future. 

For all current and future TPP members, it is important that at the end of a short implementation period there be duty free, levy free, surcharge free and quota free access to all markets for sugar and other agricultural products. A pluri-lateral outcome is essential to ensure that all countries commit to the same tariff phase-out period and reduction for each product. 

As well as eliminating tariffs and other forms of border protection for sugar, it is important that Rules of Origin established by a TPP agreement facilitate trade in raw sugar, refined sugar and all sugar value-added products so that efficient sugar producers around the region can build integrated regional supply chains. Tri-Nations Raw Cane Sugar Producers and Refiners will only support a TPP agreement that includes a high quality, comprehensive outcome for all agricultural products. This means fully opening TPP markets for sugar. 

There is no place in a modern 21st century trade agreement for the continued protection of highly resourced politically sensitive products such as sugar. 

 

The Tri-National Sugar Group:

  • Australia Sugar Industry Alliance (CANEGROWERS and Australian Sugar Milling Council)
  • Canadian Sugar Institute
  • New Zealand Sugar - Chelsea Sugar