Tariff cuts of up to 20% on Australian beef exported to Japan from next week will give Central Queensland producers something to celebrate.
State Member for Keppel Bruce Young and Rockhampton-based Senator Matt Canavan said the internationally-recognised beef capital of Australia would see big benefits from the tariff cuts.
“The tariff cuts are front-loaded so that around half the total cuts will come in the first few months of this year,” the two MPs said in a statement today.
“Under the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) – commencing on January 15 – tariffs on Australian beef will be slashed by up to 20% immediately and another 5% in April. Continuing annual cuts in future years will eventually see the current tariffs cut by up to almost 50%.”
Mr Young said the improving prospects for CQ cattle producers emphasised the need for development of live cattle export facilities at Port Alma, something he had championed.
“Around 80 cattle producers in Central Queensland currently send cattle all the way up to Townsville for live export. I want those cattle coming to Rocky and providing extra jobs here,” Mr Young said.
“As everyone knows, Rockhampton has a very important meatworks industry that provides important jobs for the region. I want to see that industry continue to prosper. Plus, like Townsville, I want extra jobs from a strong live export market.
“A new live export port in Central Queensland will provide new jobs for Rocky region residents, help producers cut transport costs by having a port closer by and will be better for stock as well.”
Senator Canavan said independent modelling indicated the JAEPA will deliver an extra $5.5 billion in Australian beef export earnings over 20 years, a 7% increase in the annual gross value of Australian beef production.
“Our region has the greatest beef stock density in Australia, with 4.8 million head of cattle – almost double the number of cattle in the Northern Territory (2.2 million), the Townsville region (657,000) and the Cairns region (162,000) combined – so Central Queensland producers stand to earn a big percentage of this extra income.
“In combination with potential rising returns thanks to the continuing fall in the value of the Australian dollar versus the US dollar, strong world demand for beef and encouraging rain across parts of the State, I hope this will give producers some real optimism about the year ahead.”
The two MPs said that, under the JAEPA, the tariff added by Japan on to Australian frozen beef exports will fall immediately from 38.5 cents on every dollar to 30.5 cents, a reduction of more than 20%. Over the next 18 years, the tariff will be reduced to 19.5 cents, a reduction of almost 50% on the existing tariff. For chilled beef, the tariff facing Australia will fall from 38.5 cents to 32.5 cents immediately and then be reduced to 23.5 cents over the next 15 years.
“While the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement was signed by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Canberra in July, the go-ahead for the launch date next week was only confirmed with an exchange of notes by Australia and Japan on December 16,”
“This is a genuine Christmas present for cattle producers and everyone else involved in the Australian beef export industry.”
They said industry had acknowledged the tariff cuts as a very positive change to the long established trading environment with Japan and something that will provide Australian beef with a useful preferential tariff advantage over other imported beef suppliers into the market.