Australian trade minister Emerson in free trade talks

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 7th August 2012

Despite job losses and factory closures in the Australian food manufacturing sector, Trade Minister Craig Emerson remains optimistic about expanding demand for food and dairy product exports from Australia to South East Asia.

Mr Emerson told an ABC morning radio program that the Shepparton to Albury-Wodonga region (also known as the Goulburn Valley- Murray Valley region) is ideally positioned to cope with future increased demand.

“What’s going to happen is that the tastes of this rapidly growing middle-class are going to be such that they’ll be demanding high quality food and services and manufactured goods. I see a real opportunity for Albury Wodonga and the wider region to cash in on premium produce (and) dairy produce,” Mr Emerson told the ABC in a radio interview today.

The recent drop in dairy prices does not appear to have diminished the Trade Minister’s optimism.

The Trade Minister has been engaged of late in more Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. The new negotiations are said to be aimed at extending free trade across Asian Pacific regions beyond the current foundation countries of Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore, since the TPP was formed in 2006.

However, in an article published today by The Age newspaper, written by Business Day writer Peter Martin, the current negotiations of the TPP were criticised as being “entirely opaque”. This is a view shared by the Australian Productivity Commission, which made a recommendation that the Trade Minister “publish an independent and transparent assessment of future free-trade agreements.” So far, Minister Emerson has not accepted this recommendation.

For more information on TPP visit:

For Peter Martin’s article in The Age newspaper visit: