Grain Producers Australia has urged trade minister Dan Tehan to closely consider the needs of Australian grain growers when working through delicate trade negotiations with parties such as the European Union.
GPA chairman Andrew Weidemann said Mr Tehan's speech at this week's Australian Grains Industry Conference was heartening in that it recognised the industry's market access needs and priorities.
He said he was also confident Mr Tehan would be able to work through negotiations with the EU to support Australian grain growers.
"We also support Minister Tehan's statements about the principles he's taking to the trade portfolio in being proactive, principled and patient," Mr Weidemann said.
"This is especially important for the government in seeking to finalise an FTA with the EU by the middle of next year, to expand access for Australian grains into that market."
Mr Weidemann said there were complexities in grains surrounding such a deal, in particular with the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification, the process Australian farmers must sign up to in order to export canola and malt barley to the EU.
"GPA will continue working with Minister Tehan to ensure he understands the potential threats and sovereign risks of the ISCC certification system, on the ability of Australian canola farmers to sell into the EU market," he said.
Mr Weidemann also welcomed the focus on market access.
He said the recent Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences crop forecast predicted a 54.8 million tonne crop, the second largest on record, and that good trade relationships would be critical in achieving the best value out of the crop.
"Market access is critical to returning and delivering value not only to Australian producers, but also sustaining the rural communities and industries we support," Mr Weidemann said.
Mr Weidemann said GPA also welcomed the Minister's comments about putting more resources into securing an FTA with India, to speed-up arrangements and achieve an outcome by the end of the year, to pave the way for finalising something the following year.
"We agree with Minister Tehan that, especially for Australian grains, the opportunities in the Indian market are 'extensive'," he said.
"However, it's important for grain producers that we have secure and reliable access to this market, with reduced volatility around the imposition of tariffs, in any deal."
The story Tehan's approach to EU FTA welcomed by grain industry first appeared on Farm Online.