Food, grocery sector welcomes Korean FTA
The federal government's recent announcement that Australia has reached agreement with South Korea on a Free Trade Agreement is a "tremendous shot in the arm" for the food and grocery sector, the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) have said in a statement.
The AFGC congratulated the Minister for Trade Andrew Robb and his negotiating team on the speedy conclusion of the FTA with Korea, in particular what appears to be a high quality agreement that reduces tariffs to zero on a wide range of Australian food and grocery exports.
Gary Dawson, the AFGC's CEO said the deal was a great example of Australia playing to its strengths in international trade to secure maximum value for high value-add exports as well as commodities.
"Food and grocery processing is Australia's largest manufacturing sector, with a turnover of $111 billion per annum and directly employing 300,000 people, half of them in rural and regional Australia," he said.
"Korea is already Australia's fourth largest export market for processed food and grocery products, worth $1.8 billion in 2012-13.
"This agreement will accelerate the growth of Australian food exports into Korea to meet growing demand from Korean consumers who value Australia's high quality food production.
"Improved market access into high value markets like Korea is vital for the future of Australia's food and grocery sector.
"The benefits will flow to a broad range of Australian food and grocery manufacturing companies, large and small.
"By contrast, if the deal had not been concluded, we faced losing market share to competitor countries.
"The conclusion of the Korea FTA is great news for Australian food and beverage manufacturing and will help drive growth and jobs across the sector in the years to come."