China FTA Legislation Key to Food Manufacturing Jobs

Legislation introduced into Parliament today by Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb is a key step in ensuring Australia long term competitiveness in food exports, said the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC).

AFGC CEO Gary Dawson said the passage of the China FTA enabling legislation is a non-negotiable outcome if Australian food producers are able to compete on a global stage to meet the rising demand of landing on Asian dinner plates.

“The China FTA is vital for Australia’s largest manufacturing sector – food and grocery processing – to access the world’s second largest economy. It’s vital for the future of manufacturing and manufacturing jobs in Australia,” said Mr Dawson.

“If the China Australia FTA is not signed and implemented in 2015 the Australian agriculture and food sector stands to lose more than $5.5 billion a year in food export opportunities by 2018.”

“Minister Robb should be congratulated on securing an agreement that has taken 10 years and has potential to secure maximum value for high value-add exports as well as commodities. This means increased job opportunities right across the country.”

“Tariffs on processed food exports from Australia to China run as high as 30 per cent. Under the deal tariff eliminations include:

  • 5 to 30 per cent tariff on orange juice removed within 7 years, and tariffs of up to 30 per cent on other fruit juices removed within 4 years,
  • 15 per cent tariff on natural honey, and the up to 25 per cent tariff on honey-related products removed within 5 years,
  • 15 per cent tariff on pasta removed within 4 years,
  • 8 to 10 per cent tariff on chocolate removed within 4 years,
  • 15 to 25 per cent tariff on canned tomatoes, peaches, pears and apricots removed within 4 years,
  • 15 to 20 per cent tariff on biscuits and cakes removed within 4 years, and
  • 20 per cent tariff on soft drinks removed within 4 years”.

“The simple fact is that without ratifying the China FTA we will continue to battle a 15-30% tariff – which is the difference between being competitive on the shelf  and not.”

“We’ve had 10 years of on-again off-again talks – now the deal is done we need ratification this year to get two tariff cuts in quick succession.”

“Failure to ratify means we’ll fall further behind in the race to get on the plate of Chinese consumers instead maximising our high value-add exports,” said Mr Dawson.


More information: James Mathews – 0407 416 002.