​Media Release

Championing Australian agriculture and trade in Europe​

23 June 2017

  • Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce to champion Australia's important food and agriculture trade with the European Union in a visit to the UK, Belgium, Netherlands and Italy
  • Food and agriculture exports to Europe valued at over $3 billion
  • Deputy Prime Minister to support progress towards a future Australia-European Union Free Trade Agreement for food and agriculture

Maintaining and growing Australia's $3.1 billion food and agricultural exports into Europe is central to a visit next week by Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, to the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy.

Mr Joyce said the federal government is determined to build on a string of free trade deals concluded by the Liberal-National government that are expanding export opportunities and jobs for Australians.

"Australia sees the EU as a genuine partner. That will be a consistent message of my visit," Minister Joyce said.

"Australia and the European Union successfully concluded a joint scoping exercise on a future free trade agreement in April this year. My visit is a chance to engage on the broader agricultural relationship, as part of the discussions related to a commercially meaningful agriculture package in a future Australia–EU Free Trade Agreement.

"It will be an important opportunity to meet some key counterparts such as key EU Member State Ministers, members of the European Parliament and senior officials from the European Commission.

​"I am particularly looking forward to meeting again with the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan and building on the productive discussions we had in January 2017 at the G20 Agriculture Ministers' Meeting in Berlin.

"I will also meet with Australian agriculture producers and exporters and senior Rabobank executives, to discuss a range of agricultural issues, and advocate for Australia's interests.

Mr Joyce said he would also be meeting with the newly appointed UK Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, to further build the agricultural relationship between Australia and the UK.

"Australia has a strong reputation for safe and high quality produce—this will be on show during a visit to a world renowned brewery in Belgium, which has selected Tasmanian hops for a special release Leffe beer, and the annual Meat and Livestock Australia BBQ in Brussels, which showcases high quality Australian beef and lamb.

"I will also visit the world-leading infrastructure at Rotterdam Port, the largest in Europe, which facilitates the movement of large volumes of Australian agricultural produce into Europe; before leading the Australian delegation at the biennial Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Ministerial Conference in Rome.

"The EU is Australia's second largest trading partner and the largest source of foreign investment in Australian agriculture.

"It is Australia's sixth largest export market for agricultural products valued at $3.1 billion in 2016.

"An Australia-EU Free Trade Agreement has the potential to help drive economic growth in both Australia and the EU by opening up new export opportunities, enhancing investment flows, and removing trade barriers for businesses.​

"I will argue that the Europeans should embrace an FTA with Australia. European farmers have nothing to fear from improved trade with Australia as we are not in a position to swamp their markets. We can however deliver high quality premium products to meet clear market demand.

"There are opportunities to grow our bilateral trade and deliver positive outcomes for agricultural and food & beverage producers in both Australia and the EU. While Australia will maintain a major focus on expanding our agricultural exports to rapidly growing Asian markets, we also look to sell high quality premium products into Europe."

Fast facts

  • In 2016 the EU was Australia's sixth largest export partner for agriculture, fisheries and forest products, with exports valued at $3.1 billion.
  • This was led by canola, wine, greasy wool, beef and veal, and almonds.
  • The European Union was the Australia's largest import partner for agriculture, fisheries and forest products in 2016, valued at $5.5 billion.​