The historic Chinese Australia Free Trade Agreement came into force in December, bringing with it reduced tariffs for Australian exports to China.
“The start of the FTA will be good for agribusiness,’’ Federal Member for Murray Sharman Stone said.
Under the FTA, high tariffs on key growth commodities such as beef, sheep meat, hides, skins and dairy will be eliminated over the next seven to 11 years.
“This will give many of our farmers the ability to open new export markets and make a better return for our great products,” Dr Stone said.
“China is already Australia’s second largest market for dairy exports, worth $331 million in 2014-15, and the removal of tariffs of 10 to 20 per cent under the FTA will expand industry opportunities and open many new doors for a number of our large businesses.
“Just one example of the new agreement is the 12 to 15 per cent tariff on Australia’s cheese export to China.”
Dr Stone said it was reduced to 10.8 per cent on December 20, and cut further to 9.6 per cent on January 1. Australia’s cheese exports to China were worth $72.3 million in 2014-15.
“The 15 to 25 per cent tariff on canned tomatoes, peaches, pears and apricots will all be eliminated within four years and so will the 10 to 30 per cent tariff on most fresh fruit, providing opportunity for our fruit growers to export to new markets,
The China FTA is one of three the Federal Government has negotiated in the past two years; the other two were with Japan and South Korea.
“All of these new agreements should provide a significant benefit to the Murray electorate,” Dr Stone said.