Australia’s Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt will join other agriculture ministers worldwide in Rome this week at the 43rd United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) conference.
He will meet with former Australian Forest Products Association CEO Ross Hampton, a member of the FAO advisory committee on sustainable forest-based industries based in London, along with FAO chair Carina Hakansson, director-general of the Swedish Forest Industries Federation.
Mr Hampton’s appointment is a testament to Australia’s forest industries which have a well-deserved reputation internationally as among the best-managed in the world.
Murray Watt said the visit was an opportunity to continue open dialogue and collaboration with key trading partners on the importance of free and open international trade while progressing negotiations for a new Australia-EU Free Trade Agreement.
Mr Watt will also reiterate Australia’s position that removing trade-distorting and environmentally harmful agriculture subsidies is vital to address global food security concerns and to move towards more sustainable agriculture and food production.
“As a nation that exports more than 70% of its agricultural production, Australia is a proud advocate of free and open international trade,” Mr Watt said.
“As the world deals with the impact of conflict, pandemic and extreme weather on global food security, Australian engagement at the FAO conference means we can assist traditional and new trading partners in stabilising efficient and cost-effective food and fibre supplies.
“Sustainability credentials driven by consumer demand are increasingly fundamental to our global trading aspirations and so it’s vital we understand the emerging priorities in international markets.
While in Rome, Mr Watt will also meet with the EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski. and several European agriculture ministers in the ongoing push to secure good market access for Australian producers under an Australia-EU FTA.
“I am proud of what the Albanese Government has delivered through the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement, which will drive new and diversified trade opportunities for Australian farmers and exporters.
“Now we want to build on that by reaching a good deal for Australian producers through a comprehensive Australia-EU FTA.”