AUSTRALIA’S dairy industry is urging the federal Government to fight for a fair outcome in new free trade negotiations with the European Union (EU).
The Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) said the Government needed to push back against excessive restrictions that could damage the value of Australian dairy exports to EU countries, which already declined by an alarming 94.3 per cent over the 10-year period to 2016, from US$45 million to just US$2.3 million.
“It is vital that the free trade agreement has benefits for both sides, considering the ease of access European dairy manufacturers have to the Australian market,” ADIC Chair Terry Richardson said.
Of particular concern are efforts to restrict the use of common cheese names, often referred to
as geographic indications of origin (GIs), which could put Australian dairy producers at a disadvantage to their European counterparts.
“We are deeply concerned that GIs will mean local manufacturers and exporters will no longer be able to use common names like Parmesan or feta because of EU GI regulations,” Mr Richardson said.
Mr Richardson said the negotiations were a unique opportunity to remove the barriers that are currently stifling dairy trade between Australia and the EU.
“These trade negotiations should allow both Australia and the EU to capitalise on an improved commercial relationship,” he said.
“But we need to ensure this deal frees up the trade relationship rather than creates technical barriers such as GIs.”
The EU’s Trade Commissioner will visit Canberra next month to formally kick off negotiations.
Ashley Mackinnon, Public Affairs Manager
M: 0407 766 153