THE importance of free trade agreements to Australia’s agricultural exports has been highlighted in a new report.

The report, entitled Stocktake of Free Trade, was authored by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

Head of ABARES Agricultural Forecasting and Trade Dr Jared Greenville said 81% of Australian agricultural exports were now destined for countries with which Australia had a preferential trade agreement.

“The importance of FTAs to Australia’s agricultural export performance cannot be overstated,” Dr Greenville said.

“The value of our agricultural exports to countries with which we have an FTA is estimated to be about $39 billion in 2019/2020.”

Dr Granville said there were only a few major trading partners remaining with which Australia does not yet have a preferential trade agreement, including the European Union, the United Kingdom and India.

“Negotiations with these trading partners are underway and the pursuit of FTAs with new partners will remain of key importance to Australia’s future trade agenda,” he said.

“Negotiating FTAs and maintaining their gains requires significant effort and investment. “FTAs are a long-term investment, for example the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) which came into force 5 July 2020.”