Keith Pitt & Ken O’Dowd call for sweet deal in TPP

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt and Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd are calling on Australian negotiators to ensure the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) includes a sweet deal for sugar producers.

Mr Pitt said free trade negotiations between 12 countries, including five of Australia’s top ten trading partners, were entering final stages.

“Minister for Trade Andrew Robb has done a great job fighting for Australia in other free trade negotiations, and I urge him to ensure sugar is not forgotten in the TPP,” Mr Pitt said.

“The last time Australia was given an opportunity to increase its access to United States (US) sugar market in 2005 our producers were left with a bitter taste in their mouths.”

Mr Pitt, who grew sugar cane in Bundaberg before entering Parliament, said Australia was the right trade partner to reward with increased market access for raw sugar.

“The Australian sugar industry is the leading example of free and unsubsidized sugar trade. The US has a shortfall of three million tonnes per year and they’re strong advocates of free trade.”

Mr O’Dowd said Australian sugar producers were resilient, and the lifeblood of rural communities along the Queensland coast.

“They battle drought, the carbon tax and ever increasing electricity prices but they can’t continue to survive a farm gate price which is lower than the cost of production,” Mr O’Dowd said.

“Prices in the US are regulated, so gaining access to that market would guarantee our producers a higher return for whatever they sell into the US.

“We call on Minister Robb to continue fighting for Australian sugar and all the people employed in the industry.”

[ENDS]