Research delves into trade issues for agricultural sector

ISSUES EXPLORED: AgriFutures Australia managing director, John Harvey talks about rural trade following new research.

ISSUES EXPLORED: AgriFutures Australia managing director, John Harvey talks about rural trade following new research.

This robust analysis gives Australian exporters the knowledge they need to take a leadership role in attempting to restore stability for agricultural commodities in the current global trading environment.

John Harvey

New research shows uncertainty from ongoing bilateral trade wars between China and the United States have set the global trading environment back decades and undermined Australian agricultural exports.

An AgriFutures Australia-funded report released this week gives policy makers, industry peak bodies and primary producers a roadmap as to how a less predictable trading environment may impact export markets.

AgriFutures Australia managing director, John Harvey said the ITS Global analysis, Bilateral trade wars: Understanding the implications for Australian agriculture, gives the industry a firm footing for policy creation.

"This robust analysis gives Australian exporters the knowledge they need to take a leadership role in attempting to restore stability for agricultural commodities in the current global trading environment," said Mr Harvey. "The findings show that unilateral moves by the Trump Administration to renegotiate existing trade agreements have threatened World Trade Organisation (WTO) principles of a rules-based trading system, creating uncertainty for Australian agriculture." The report identified a wide range of risks and opportunities for Australia's agricultural interests arising from the current trade wars, finding some Australian products are likely to fare better than others.

AgriFutures Australia Senior Manager, Business Development, Jen Medway agreed that while some industries will prosper and others may feel the pressure from these trade wars.

"Australia's dairy industry is one industry that could potentially benefit from trade opportunities with China on the back of additional tariffs imposed on US dairy products.

"On the flip side, a prospective US-Japan free trade agreement (FTA) could negatively impact the dairy industry as US producers disadvantaged in the Chinese market could gain improved access to Japan.

"For the Australian wool industry, the bilateral trade wars may not have a noticeable impact, despite China implementing retaliatory tariffs on some US wool products. The relatively small size of the US wool export market to Asia will buffer any significant uncertainty for Australian wool exporters as a result of the increased tariffs."

RELATED READING: