WAFIC steps up for WA in free trade discussions

The Commonwealth continues to seek WAFIC input from time to time over trade policy matters which may have some potential impact upon the fishing industry.

A few months ago, WAFIC reviewed the negotiating position being taken by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in relation to the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (AUKFTA) and knowing that overseas negotiators can often target domestic policies, we asked for assurance from Canberra that “buy local” campaigns, cooperative marketing arrangements and COVID assistance would not be considered as either market distorting or a trade subsidy.

This generated a flurry of activity and the good news is that we have now received confirmation that these matters will be deemed to fall outside the scope of the AUKFTA and will not be included or discussed in negotiations.

While the level of seafood trade with the UK is not significant, WAFIC as the fishing industry peak body keeps a close watch on these matters. We know all too well that things which potentially creep into one Free Trade Agreement on one side of the world could easily be included in another closer to home.

With recent changes in market dynamics, particularly for rock lobster, the industry has to be more vigilant than ever about monitoring trade policies to ensure our interests are protected.