QUEENSLAND beef producers stand to incur losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars and will suffer a greatly reduced export market unless the Korean Free Trade Agreement (FTA) can be finalised.
AgForce cattle president Howard Smith said continued failure to resolve the FTA left the state's agricultural industry, particularly beef, exposed.
"Korea is our third largest export market and Queensland, as the largest beef producing state with around 45 percent of the Australian cattle herd, has the most to lose," he said.
His comments came as another delegation of Australian agricultural representatives including National Famers Federation president Jock Laurie and Cattle Council of Australia president Andrew Ogilvie visited Korea to encourage urgent FTA negotiations.
Last year Australia sent nearly 126,000 tonnes of beef to Korea, of which more than 78,000 tonnes were from Queensland. Furthermore, economic modelling indicated Australia would incur a cumulative loss of about A$1.4 billion over the 15 years the tariff on US beef was reduced to zero.
In the short term Australia has already lost market share, with modelling showing this trend will continue until our portion of the imported beef market in Korea has fallen to 26pc in 2026 (down from 49pc now).
Mr Smith said time was running out for the FTA to be finalised and for these significant losses to be avoided.
"We are already at a severe disadvantage compared to the US and if this is not rectified our situation will become increasingly serious over time," he said.
"Increased market access through FTAs is a tangible outcome government can deliver for a more profitable beef industry. We expect the Federal Government and Opposition to pursue prompt delivery of FTAs at all costs.
"It is imperative the issue of the Korean FTA be resolved as quickly as possible for the ongoing profitability and security of Queensland beef producers. We simply cannot afford to lose our competitive advantage in our third biggest market."
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