Mackay's Racecourse Mill.
Mackay's Racecourse Mill. Peter Holt

Sugar has been left out of another free trade agreement

SUGAR has been snubbed again.

Growers in the Mackay region are disappointed after sugar has been left out of another free trade agreement.

Prime Minster Tony Abbott and China's President Xi Jinping met to discuss their countries' trade deal at the APEC leaders' summit at the weekend in Sydney.

Yesterday they announced the new free trade deal, which includes tariff reductions for beef and dairy exports.

But sugar was left out of the deal.

On Thursday, farmers will meet at Farleigh for the Canegrowers Mackay annual general meeting, where sugar marketing and export will no doubt be discussed.

Mackay Canegrowers chairman Kevin Borg said he was disappointed sugar had been left out of the free trade agreement with China.

"It would have opened up our market quite significantly," he said.

"These deals have to be a two-way street," he said.

"China, in this case, seems to want to look after their own producers and Australia exporting sugar in that country tariff-free would not suit their own producers."

However, as the end of the 2014 crushing season approaches, cane growers are looking to 2015 with more optimism than in years past.

"For 2015, the basis is there," Mr Borg said.

"Growers are cautiously optimistic that, with good weather, we can expect better yields."

Crushing at Mackay district mills is expected to wrap up about the first week of December.

State Minister for Agriculture John McVeigh will attend the meeting at Fairview Tavern from 9.30am.


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