AUSTRALIA’s $61 billion farm production sector faces challenges at home and in the international marketplace, according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences’ (ABARES) quarterly report today.
A key domestic factor seen by ABARES is the review of the wheat port code and whether limiting monopoly power associated with port terminal ownership is best achieved through an industry code of conduct.
The review was initiated by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) in October 2017, an interim report was released and the closing date for submissions in response was recently extended to the beginning of the last week in June.
Free trade arrangements seen as positive
Authorisation by European Union (EU) leaders last month to open negotiations with Australia towards a free trade agreement was seen as most likely to benefit agriculture in Australia when eventually an agreement would be struck between the EU-bloc and Australia.
A Trans-Pacific partnership, now formally known as The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is a step closer to reality this month, though still some time from commencing its operation.
ABARES reported CPTPP was signed on 8 March 2018 and would enter into force 60 days after six of the 11 signatories had ratified the agreement. However, until today only Mexico had ratified.
In Australia, the agreement is currently being considered by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties.
The parties involved aim to have the CPTPP up and running in 2018.
US protectionist stance
ABARES reported the increasingly protectionist stance of the United States on manufacturing and intellectual property rights could lead to a number of retaliatory measures by its trading partners across sectors.
While it could create short term opportunities for other exporters, one harmful outcome of such action would be to disrupt traditional trade flows.