CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA — Earlier this year the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11) was signed, opening the door to significant new market access opportunities for the grain and other agricultural industries in Australia. On Oct. 31, TPP-11 was ratified and is now set to go live on Dec. 30.

Luke Mathews, trade and economics manager at GrainGrowers, applauded the ratification, which comes after 10 years of negotiations between major markets, including Japan, Canada and Mexico.

“Bilateral and regional preferential trade agreements such as the TPP-11 are critical in improving export opportunities and in boosting farm gate prices for the Australian grain growers,” Mathews said. “TPP-11 will give Australian grain farmers a good reason to smile, at a time when drought conditions have played havoc for many, by ensuring improved market access and better grain prices once more favorable seasonal conditions return.”

Mathews said TPP-11 members were important partners of the Australian grains industry.

“The average value of Australian grain exports to TPP-11 members is A$1.6 billion, contributing some 15% to 20% of all Australian grains exports,” Mathews said. “For the grains industry, the largest benefits from TPP-11 are improved market access into the important Japanese wheat, barley and canola market.”

Mathews said Australian grain exports to Japan were valued at more than A$750 million in 2016-17, led by barley at A$325 million, wheat at A$304 million, and canola at A$84 million.

In addition to market access, the implementation of TPP-11 is expected to play a role in encouraging mutual recognition of standards and reducing non-tariff barriers in the region.

“Australian grain farmers grow about 49 million tonnes of grains, oilseeds and pulses each year, which at the farm gate alone is worth A$14.6 billion,” he said. “This production generates more than 170,000 jobs across rural, regional and metropolitan Australia.

“More than 70% of this grain production is typically sold offshore, generating A$12.2 billion each year, and accounting for more than a quarter of all Australian agricultural export earnings.

“It is vitally important that free trade and market access remains a key focus of the Australian parliament.”