Joint media release: A sweet deal for Australian sugar producers

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator the Hon Murray Watt
Minister for Trade and Tourism, Special Minister of State, Senator the Hon Don Farrell

Australia’s tariff-free raw sugar exports to the United Kingdom (UK) have resumed for the first time in 50 years.

Australia’s first shipment of raw sugar under the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement has arrived in London overnight, heralding the reopening of a valuable market for the Queensland sugar industry.

The shipment of Queensland sugar set sail from the Townsville wharf in July.

The gold-standard trade agreement delivers tariff-free access to the UK market for Australian raw sugar through an expanding tariff-free quota that increases from 80,000 tonnes in the first year to 220,000 tonnes by October 2030, at which point all tariffs will be eliminated.

Prior to Australia’s trade agreement with the UK, tariffs as high as $620/£350 per tonne (approximately 64 percent) applied to Australian sugar.

The trade agreement provides Australian agricultural exporters access to the UK market not experienced since the UK joined the European Economic Community (as it then was) on 1 January 1973.

The UK sugar processing sector and British food producers and consumers will also benefit from an increased supply of high-quality sustainably produced Australian raw cane sugar at competitive prices.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Trade and Tourism, Senator the Hon Don Farrell:

“This first shipment of tariff-free sugar is proof that our trade agreements deliver real, practical benefits for Australian farmers and producers.

“In addition to helping our sugar producers, the trade agreement also creates new opportunities for a range of other business sectors, including young and skilled workers, professionals and innovators who will benefit from better visa options.”

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator the Hon Murray Watt:

“This is a huge achievement and a great win for Australian agriculture and our farmers, especially in Queensland.” 

“The increased market access offered by the trade agreement will bring the agriculture industry closer to its goal of $100 billion in production by 2030.”

“It’s fantastic to see Queenslanders already benefiting from the tariff-free sales as the first traders with the UK under the new agreement.”

Quotes attributable to the CANEGROWERS, Chairman, Owen Menkens

“Australia is a world leader in the production of sustainable sugar. Through accreditation in the industry-led Smartcane BMP Program, growers are demonstrating their sustainability to international markets and businesses, such as Tate & Lyle Sugars, who are increasingly seeking out sustainable supply chains.”

“Sugarcane growers across Queensland should be proud of their efforts in supporting the re-opening of this valuable market for the Australian industry.”

Quotes attributable to the Tate & Lyle Sugars, Senior Vice President, Gerald Mason

“We’re delighted to welcome the first vessel of tariff-fee cane sugar in 50 years to Tate & Lyle Sugars Thames Refinery.”

“We’re looking forward to working with Australian sugarcane farmers, millers and marketers to continue to develop their impressive sustainability programs, which areessential to us and our customers in the UK.”

Still imagery available here:

Footage of the ship arriving available here: