Australia’s National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has welcomed the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) recommendation that Australia ratify the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) – an agreement that could deliver millions of dollars in additional export value to the Australian economy. NFF is urging the Australian government to quickly implement the agreement.

NFF President Brent Finlay said the deal recognizes agriculture as one of the nation’s export strongholds and must be ratified as soon as possible to open up markets for Australian farmers, including those in the pork, beef, grains, dairy, sugar and horticulture industries. A key benefit of the KAFTA for Australian farmers will be that tariffs on key pork exports of 22.5 to 25 percent will be eliminated in five to 15 years.

“The NFF is involved in all of Australia’s trade negotiations regarding agriculture, so we understand how complex and challenging it is to secure an agreement in the first place. Any suggestions that it be delayed are clearly not in the interests of Australian farmers,” said Finlay.

“After four years of intense negotiations, we were pleased that the Korean and Australian governments reached an agreement in December 2013. This was a major step forward in securing Australia’s trade within the Asian region. The challenge now is moving from words to action. With the European Union and the United States hot on our heels, ratification of the agreement will ensure Australian agriculture cements its competitive advantage in Asian markets. Ratifying the agreement before the end of the year will mean that Australian agriculture -- particularly the dairy and red meat sectors -- can take advantage of the tariff reduction timeline as of January 1, 2015.