CANEGROWERS chairman Paul Schembri said growers were disappointed that US President Donald Trump had chosen to formally withdraw from the 12 nation trade agreement process.
“A significant opportunity for us to gain increased access to one of the most lucrative markets in the world has been lost,” Mr Schembri said. “And US refiners will not have access to more high-quality Australian sugar to meet the country’s production-consumption shortfall.
“The big prize in the TPP was not an immediate benefit to our industry from accessing the US sugar market. We were initially only going to be able to sell another 80,000 tonnes of sugar into the US, taking our access to 150,000 tonnes.
“The big prize that we have lost is an improved framework for selling sugar in the Asia-Pacific for the foreseeable future and the opportunity of moving towards selling up to 500,000t to the US in the future.”
“Trade deals like this only come along once or twice in lifetime,” Mr Schembri said. “It is important to remember that this US decision doesn’t mean the end of our industry or the end of our hopes for an improved trading environment for our export product.
“We have been encouraged by the discussions between Australia and Japan recently and the Prime Minister’s talk of a revised TPP,” he said.
“This US decision puts greater importance on the other avenues Australia is negotiating for improved trade access – a stronger deal with China, the Asia-focused Regional Cooperative Economic Partnership and free trade agreements with the European Union and United Kingdom.”