THE North’s agricultural industries could be big winners as negotiations with the European Union over a free trade agreement commence in coming weeks.
Townsville based Senator Ian Macdonald welcomed news that the Council of European Union (EU) will start negotiations for the Australia-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) saying there was huge potential for Northern Australia’s agricultural sector.
“The Australian Government is very keen to secure improved market access for our northern farmers in the beef, sugar, fisheries and horticulture industries,” Mr Macdonald said
“The Turnbull Government’s success in FTAs with China, Korea, Singapore, Japan, Peru and the Trans Pacific Nations is already making a big difference to these industries in the north and a FTA with the EU would be icing on the cake.”
He said a FTA with the EU could eliminate many tariffs and create new and stronger export opportunities across some of North Queensland’s most important sectors.
“This has the potential to open up lucrative premium markets in our fourth largest export destination,” Mr Macdonald said.
“By driving an increase in exports, we are boosting economic growth in the regions and creating real job opportunities for local people.”
He said Australian exports to the EU were worth $3.8 billion in 2016-17, a figure believes can grow significantly over coming years.