National Foods will sell its cheese processing plants in South Australia and close its two Victorian plants within three years. The moves were announced as part of a $132 million investment in Tasmania, aimed at rationalising the company’s cheese making business.
The TPP is a free trade agreement involving 12 Asia-Pacific nations accounting for about 40% of global GDP. While the member countries have formally signed on, most now need to secure domestic ratification for the agreement.
The Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) and Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) have both predicted significant gains for farmers and exporters under the deal.
“The industry congratulates (Federal Trade) Minister Robb and his team of negotiators, in signing another trade agreement that benefits the Australian economy,” ADIC Chair, Simone Jolliffe said.
VFF Vice President David Jochinke highlighted the elimination of Japanese tariffs on some cheese and tariff reductions and new quotas on other cheese products as potentially a major benefit for Australian dairy.
“Australia is a nation built on trade and investment, and the TPP will see unprecedented export opportunities for rural producers in Victoria,” Mr Jochinke said.
Mr Jochinke said the TPP could eliminate 98 per cent of tariffs on Australian agricultural exports to TPP countries, however he urged the government to ratify the deal quickly.
“The TPP is a monumental agreement for the agriculture sector, but the quicker it is ratified the quicker we can unlock the benefits of international trade,” he said.