20 May 2009
Australia is seeking urgent talks with the European Union to ensure a new tariff quota to be established on beef exports does not disadvantage our producers.
The tariff quota is the result of bilateral negotiations between the European Union and the United States as part of a possible settlement to their WTO dispute on beef hormones.
Australia has immediately written to EU Commissioner for Trade, Baroness Catherine Ashton, indicating that the tariff quota must operate consistently with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. The Government has also raised the issue with the EU Ambassador to Australia, Mr David Daly.
We understand this tariff quota for high quality beef will be available to all suppliers on a non-discriminatory basis.
Australia would welcome any improved trade market access that flowed from the establishment of the new tariff quota.
We are keen to ensure the tariff quota is not discriminatory in its treatment of beef exporters and provides equal opportunities for access for Australian beef exporters who are well-established suppliers of safe, high-quality beef.
We have asked Australia’s representatives in Geneva to register Australia’s interest in this new tariff quota to ensure that it is consistent with WTO commitments and will provide improved access to the European Union beef market for all countries.
Australia’s beef exports to the European Union exceed $136 million annually and the Government is keen to help industry grow this important market.