Monday, February 23, 2009

India free trade negotiations a ray of hope for agriculture

Forget the recession - the Government's announcement of a possible free trade deal with India over the weekend was the best news to hit our livestock industry in 18 months.

India has a growing middle class, with money in pockets, and this bodes well for our lamb markets.

Okay, so negotiations are expected to take a number of years but it all looks hopeful and in these current conditions the fact that we are opening talks with the world's second largest nation is a huge coup for the Government.

Currently we export very little agricultural products as there are high tariffs on sheep meat. Even so we export $360 million each year, and import $284 million in return. Coke, coal, logs and wool are our main exports into the country.

Think then what free access to India's growing rich could mean and as Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson commented, "sheep meat is widely consumed and unaffected by religious dietary requirements where meat is consumed."

Might be time to buy in that breeding stock again and celebrate the positivity of this move.

Here's to free trade and lamb curries!

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