6 January 2004

Trade talks focus on better deal for farmers

Acting Prime Minister John Anderson today met with a US Congress delegation to discuss a free trade agreement with America.

Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott also attended the meeting.

Mr Anderson says the discussions were been fruitful and worthwhile.

He says he made it plain that it's important for Australia to have more access for beef, dairy and sugar in the US markets.

He says he also indicated that the benefits of the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme to Australian consumers should not be diminished.



It's good news that the PBS is off the table. Whether we make any progress on access to the US farm market is another story. Anderson is dead right that an FTA without agriculture is not worth having.

When Canada reported a case of mad cow disease the US immediately banned the import of Canadian beef. That ban stands, while the US delegations travel the world asking for the ban on the import of US beef to be lifted. American exceptionalism seems to have a lot to do with pork as well as beef.

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