Japan trade agreement falls short for Wimmera farmers

A NEW trade agreement with Japan will deliver little benefit to Wimmera growers.

The trade agreement, finalised this week, will make a range of Australian food exports more attractive and accessible for Japanese consumers.

Grain Producers Australia chairman Andrew Weidemann said the agreement would have little impact on Wimmera farmers, but it was still a positive step.

"There was an 8.5 per cent tariff reduction on pulses, so there is a little win there for pulse growers in the region," he said.

"But besides that there wasn't much in the agreement for grain."

Under the trade agreement, tariffs for wool and lamb will be eliminated over seven years.

"It is a positive step for anyone producing meat," Mr Weidemann said.

He said the agreement could be the start of negotiations for better trade deals with other countries.

"Maybe this is the start of something better," he said.

"As a trading nation, we need to focus on improving the value of Australian grain and the agricultural industry in general, so we can have good agriculture trade deals in years to come."

National Farmers Federation president Brent Finlay said the agreement provided some concessions, but Australian farmers needed more.

"The Japanese agreement falls short of the mark on a number of fronts," he said.

"The agreement does not improve or marginally improves market access and terms of trade for a number of sectors such as dairy, sugar, grains, pork and rice."

Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb said the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement would deliver a significant boost to Australian farmers and other agricultural producers, resource exporters, service providers and consumers.

"Better access for key agricultural products including beef, cheese, horticulture and wine will give Australia a head start over our competitors in this market," he said.

Australia's beef producers are set to benefit the most.

Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh said Victoria was a significant beef exporter to Japan, with exports valued at $102 million.

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