Big wins for wine, rice and sugar in UK trade deal

Big wins for wine, rice and sugar in UK trade deal

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DIVERSIFY: Rice growers, sugar cane growers and vineyards all welcomed the news.

DIVERSIFY: Rice growers, sugar cane growers and vineyards all welcomed the news.

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It's hard to find an agricultural commodity that hasn't applauded Australia's free-trade agreement with the United Kingdom.

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IT'S hard to find an agricultural commodity that hasn't applauded Australia's free-trade agreement with the United Kingdom, with rice, wine and sugar growers all celebrating.

SunRice Chairman Laurie Arthur said although previous FTAs had failed to benefit rice in any meaningful way, the new deal delivered the "most significant market access" of any previous agreement.

"Currently, we are only able to export about 700 tonnes of Australian rice products to the UK before incredibly prohibitive tariffs kick in," he said.

"However, the removal of these quota and tariff arrangements of short and medium grain varieties will drastically increase the attractiveness of the UK as an export destination.

"This is a great result for the Australian rice industry and as there is no rice grown in the UK, it will have zero impact on any of our farming colleagues in the UK."

The wine industry is waiting to see the details of the agreement, but the deal is expected to build on last year's 33 per cent increase in exports to the UK.

Australian Grape and Wine chief executive Tony Battaglene said the UK was an "incredibly important market", particularly as the industry looks to bounce back from China closing its lucrative market last year.

"We know there is more work to do on the details, but the elimination of tariffs is critical for our sector," Mr Battaglene said.

"Other areas we are hoping to see progress on, include simpler certification requirements, and improvements in our ability to further process and package Australian wines in the UK market."

The sugar industry is another big winner, with immediate access to 80,000 tonnes tariff-free quota with annual improvements leading to full access after eight years.

Australian Sugar Milling Council chief executive David Pietsch said it was a huge improvement in the "historically poor" market access to the UK, which was just 9925 tonnes.

Mr Pietsch said Australia's focus on supplying the nearby Asian region would not change as a result of the deal, however it was vital to continue to grow market options for the industry.

"This deal will provide the UK market the option to source high quality raw sugar from Australia to support their domestic refinery sector and customers," he said.

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