AUSTRALIA'S access to major markets Hong Kong and Indonesia requires the government ratifying key free trade agreements to support the $3.4 billion dairy export industry, says the industry's peak body.
The Australian Dairy Industry Council appeared in front of the Senate's Joint Standing Committee on Treaties last Tuesday to urge all sides of politics to support agreements that will mean a 4 per cent tariff is removed on many Australian dairy products to Indonesia and a process established to resolve non-tariff barriers to both Hong Kong and Indonesia.
An Australian Food and Grocery Council report from 2015 estimated the cost of non-tariff barriers to Australia's dairy industry was costing the industry as much as $1.57b.
Indonesia is Australia's third largest dairy export market - worth $192 million each year - while Hong Kong is Australia's fifth largest market for liquid milk, with more than 15 million litres a year, and eighth largest overall for dairy, worth about $100-150 million a year.
ADIC has argued trade deals with both regions would boost Australia's multi-billion-dollar dairy export industry, with 85pc of dairy exports going to Asia.
But ADIC warned this could change if the federal government does not seize the opportunity to ratify these agreements while Indonesia and Hong Kong both proceed to sign deals with Australia's competitors, including the European Union.
Australia's share in the global dairy market has slipped from 16pc in the 1990s to just 6pc last year, with the country ranking fourth in dairy exports behind New Zealand (40pc), the European Union (28pc) and United States (14pc).
A 2015 study by Deloittes Access Economics identified Australia's dairy industry as one of five agricultural industries poised for growth, along with beef, lamb, oilseeds and aquaculture.
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