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TAS Country : March 10th 2011
12 Tasmanian Country Friday, March 11, 2011 News Free trade deals panned FREE trade agreements are a waste of time, the Productivity Commission says. A Productivity Commission presentation to the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics and Sciences Outlook conference in Canberra last week said the benefits of FTAs were oversold and the agreements created unrealistic expectations. Productivity Commission's Patricia Scott said FTAs resulted in only small increases in national income and that better gains were made through unilateral action. A recent Productivity Com- mission report argued Australia should still pursue good outcomes at Doha trade negotiations, but Australia should agree to an FTA only where there would be ''significant net economic benefit''. Australia is working on five bilateral FTAs. The Weekly Times China rifles the cray pot CHINA is crushing Australia's lobster industry while exporting its apples here tariff-free. Industry sources say China -- the destination of A processor, who declined to be named, said the fact China was selling apples into Australia at no tariff while Australian fishermen and processors went broke was ''ridiculous''. The processor said he had lost almost $100,000 selling lobster below cost. A fisherman said the situation had ''absolutely decimated the industry''. ''At the start of November we were getting $70 a kilo. Now, if we can get some in, we're getting $32 a kg. It's not even meeting the cost of catching it,'' he said. New Zealand fishermen pay no tariff courtesy of a free trade agreement. The Weekly Times BRIEFS Gate opens on milk price all-in PROCESSORS, supermarkets and dairy farmers should all be involved in milk price negotiations, according to Australia's dairy lobby group. Australian Dairy Farmers joint vice-president Adrian Drury said the move could ensure a fair farm-gate milk price. It follows a decision by the major supermarkets in January to lower their home-brand milk to $1 a litre, a move that has caused outrage among dairy farmers. At a Rural Press Club of Victoria breakfast in Melbourne last week, Mr Drury asked Coles merchandising director John Durkan whether he would be open to ''having farmers be part of the negotiations with Coles and the processor sector . . . on an annual or two-yearly or three-yearly basis''. Mr Durkan said it was not something Coles would be ''totally against'' but it could not be orchestrated by the supermarket giant. Egg producers weigh in DAIRY farmers have found an unlikely ally in egg producers angry over Coles supermarket's decision to slash prices. The grocery chain last year slashed the price of its home-brand free-range eggs by 20 per cent and announced it would phase out home-brand cage eggs by 2013. Woolworths matched the price cut on its own free- range egg line. Australian Egg Industry Association executive director James Kellaway said Coles was abusing market power. ''They're trying to increase the turnover of their private label,'' Mr Kellaway said. ''They're trying to squeeze independent retailers and squeeze suppliers.'' Milk powder hits $US4619 a tonne WHOLE milk powder sold for a record average price at the global DairyTrade auction last week. It reached $US4619 a tonne, eclipsing the first auction, in July 2008 -- the previous highest average WMP sale -- by $US224/tonne. It was equal with the USDA-Oceania average for WMP of September 2007. Last week's average price represented a rise of 43 per cent since July last year. In last week's auction, the highest price, $US4950/ tonne, was paid for May deliveries, while for September to November deliveries the price was $US4270/tonne. Overall, the average weighted price for all products was $US4826/tonne, up 5.9 per cent from the last auction. Senate told costs unsustainable SELLING home-brand milk for $1 a litre will not increase the overall sales of fresh, white milk. And it won't inject any extra revenues into the dairy industry, a Senate inquiry has been told. National Foods told the inquiry -- which follows Coles and Woolworths' decisions in January to slash the price of their home-brand milk to $1 a litre -- the move would potentially hurt the ''non-grocery sector'', milk processors and dairy farmers. ''The unsustainably low price of fresh white milk does not reflect the capital-intensive nature of the dairy industry, from farm to consumer,'' National Foods said. While National Foods said the price of home-brand milk ''needs to be substantially higher than $1 per litre'', a spokeswoman would not suggest a price. She instead referred to National Foods' submission that ''the accepted cost of capital in Australia is about 10 per cent''. The Weekly Times Authorised by the Australian Government, Capital Hill, Canberra Advertisement CCA/C4 The Child Care Rebate helps meet the cost of child care. Make sure you check your eligibility. Helping families with the cost of child care It s t % r t- - c et e e ses er c l er e r t l c . I se r e c l c re r r , st r tr , s l c ec r el l t . e e te el s t c er t e c sts r e c l c re, cl t sc l rs c re. For more information on how you can claim what you are entitled to visit a a a a ch d or call the Family Assistance Office on 1 1 50 E e t rece e t e C l C re Be e t st ll e el le r t e e te. The Australian Government offers two types of financial assistance for child care: the Child Care Benefit and the Child Care Rebate.
March 3rd 2011
March 17th 2011