Mike Knott

Farmers still unhappy with Trans Pacific Partnership deal

"SIGNIFICANT" gains may have been made in Trans Pacific Partnership talks, but Aussie farmers are not impressed.

The National Farmers Federation says it is disappointed an agreement on the multinational trade agreement was not reached despite high-level talks between Australia and 11 other countries including Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.

The 12 nations account for almost 40% of gross domestic product.

Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb wanted the Pacific Rim trade deal done wrapped up by the end of last week.

However, Mr Robb said significant gains were made on 90% of issues.

"While nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, I would say we have taken provisional decisions on more than 90 per cent of issues and during my involvement in TPP negotiations this has been by far the most productive meeting at both ministerial and officials' level," he said.

"The provisional decisions already taken would make this the biggest regional agreement in the world and the most significant agreement since the conclusion of the Uruguay round more than 20 years ago."

Agricultural market access has been a key concern.

"From Australia's perspective we have made significant gains across every area, including agricultural market access," Mr Robb said. "There are a handful of big outstanding issues that directly affect us as well some moving parts involving other countries in areas like automotives, data protection around biologics, dairy and also sugar."

NFF president Brent Finlay said it was vital Australia got the deal right.

"Farmers in each country want to protect their own farmers' interest and with the TPP that's no different," Mr Finlay told the ABC.

"The more free trade, the more trade around the world, certainly assists Australian farmers."

One third of all Australian exports of goods and services are to TPP countries.

TPP negotiations began in 2010.



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