Agribusiness & Food

Sugarcane growers welcome UK trade deal

Queensland’s sugar mills have produced more than two million tonnes of raw sugar this season, according to the Australian Sugar Milling Council (ASMC).

Australia’s sugarcane growers have welcomed the opportunity to grow sugar exports to the United Kingdom under a new, in principle trade deal.

Sugarcane farmer advocacy group Canegrowers Chairman Paul Schembri said the proposed UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement will deliver a positive economic benefit through immediate and substantial up-front tariff-free access for 80,000 tonnes of Australian sugar.

“This is a significant boost on the 9925-tonne quota to the whole European Union prior to Brexit,” Schembri said.

“Importantly too, this agreement with the UK allows for the sugar trade to grow over time by 20,000 tonnes each year for the next eight years.

“Australian sugar hasn’t had this kind of access since 1973 when the UK joined the then European Common Market.”

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Federal Trade Minister Dan Tehan was in regular contact with Canegrowers during the negotiations.

Schembri said Australian sugar is of high quality, sustainably and ethically produced and well placed to top up local beet sugar production so that UK refiners can meet domestic consumption demands.

“Australia has well-established markets in the Asia-Pacific region and these will continue to be the main focus of our sugar sales. A UK-FTA will provide a welcome diversification for our export-oriented industry.

“With 85 per cent of our sugar exported, this deal reached by the Australian Government with the UK opens new opportunities for trade, new opportunities to capture price premiums and a chance to grow our industry.”

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