SWEET NEWS: A new free trade deal with Peru will boost the region's industry.
SWEET NEWS: A new free trade deal with Peru will boost the region's industry. Contributed

Peruvian sugar trade opens up for Bundy

A NEW free trade deal with Peru is set to be a boost for Bundaberg sugarcane farmers.

The deal announced this week gives Australian farmers raw sugar market access into Peru under terms never granted to another country.

Canegrowers Chairman Paul Schembri said the inclusion of sugar in the deal with Peru sends a message that sensitive commodities, which have been excluded from some past Australian trade agreements, can and should be included.

"80% of the raw sugar produced from our cane is exported so every market door that is opened is welcome as it increases the demand for Australian sugar,” Mr Schembri said.

The new access for Australian raw sugar to Peru is 30,000 tonnes per year from the first year of the agreement increasing to 60,000 tonnes in year six and 90,000 tonnes in year 18.

"While the initial amounts of raw sugar that Peru may purchase are small compared to our annual production of more than 4.5 million tonnes, the FTA will enable Australian exporters to establish and grow commercial relationships with refiners in Peru which has one of Latin America's fastest growing economies,” Mr Schembri said.

Federal Member for Hinkler and Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Keith Pitt said the agreement would help create local jobs.

"This agreement eliminates 99 per cent of the tariffs Australian exports face into Peru, putting Hinkler exporting businesses in pole position to capitalise on this growing market,” he said.

Under the agreement, Australian exports of sugar, dairy, rice, sorghum, sheep meat, wine, kangaroo, almonds, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, paper products and machinery will have immediate tariff free access.

"This is a massive win for the sugar industry in the Hinkler region. Australia's sugar market access is more than any other sugar exporting country has achieved in the last 20 years and equivalent to roughly 30 per cent of Peru's imports,” he said.

Bundaberg Sugar chief executive officer Guy Basile echoed Mr Pitt's sentiments.

"Any new access for Australian sugar is always a good outcome,” Mr Basil said.

"The Free Trade Agreement with Peru is a positive step and injects further confidence in the Australian sugar industry.

"Together with our growers, we will have more opportunities for our exported sugar to be placed in new markets.”