Australian red meat industry shapes up to open doors in UK and EU post Brexit

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The Australian red meat industry, under the leadership of the EU/UK Red Meat Market Access Taskforce, is maintaining high ambition for trade reform in both the European Union and the United Kingdom.

As with other free trade agreements the Australian Government has negotiated to date, liberalisation of restrictive market access arrangements remains the overwhelming priority of the taskforce. The current Australia-EU Free Trade Agreement negotiations and the envisaged Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement negotiations, provide this opportunity for trade reform.

Taskforce chair Andrew McDonald said Australia had a long history of trading with Europe, with the Australian red meat industry responding to European customer demand by developing dedicated supply chains, focused on meeting market-specific requirements.

Despite this focus, Australian red meat exports are constrained by the EU via disproportionately low volume import quotas and high above-quota tariffs. In terms of country-specific access, Australian exporters only have access to a 7,150 tonne high-quality beef quota (with a 20pc in quota tariff) and a 19,186 tonne combined sheepmeat/goatmeat quota (with zero in quota tariff).

“The opportunity presented by the A-EU FTA negotiations to modernise these access conditions and address the uneven playing field, especially in comparison to the preferential access other global red meat exporters have secured with the EU, is clearly worth pursuing,” Mr McDonald said.

“The sixth round of A-EU FTA negotiations is scheduled to be held in Canberra next week, and this engagement is likely to facilitate further discussion on market access for goods.

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