September 22, 2022


Farmers in Australia concerned beef exports could be blocked by EU new law



Australia's National Farmers' Federation responded angrily to the possibility that tough new land-clearing protections adopted by the European parliament on Wednesday might prevent Australian beef exports, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.


Companies would be required by the new regulations to demonstrate that none of the products they were selling originated from land that had been deforested or otherwise negatively affected the environment.


While the European Parliament has voted to adopt the regulations, it is still up to the member countries of the European Union to ratify the regulations and decide whether to vote to put them into effect.


But given that European farmers are already wary of granting greater trade access to a significant export power like Australia, the controversy may complicate Australia's protracted efforts to reach a trade agreement with the EU. Additionally, British farmers lobbied against a trade agreement with Australia, which the UK nonetheless signed in May.


Fiona Simson, president of the National Farmers' Federation, said Australia is a global leader in sustainable agriculture.


Farmers contend that "thinning" vegetation in some regions, such as Queensland's mulga country, to increase livestock grazing, should not be considered deforestation.


Simson said they don't need well-meaning individuals on the other side of the world telling them how to take care of their special environment.


The Australian native forest products produced by businesses that local courts have found to have violated Australian environmental laws may be subject to European regulations.


Additionally, they would require businesses to confirm that they have complied with international human rights law, including Indigenous peoples' rights to prior, free, and informed consent for development on their lands, which could apply to clearing land for mining.


Nathaniel Pelle, a conservationist with the Australian Conservation Foundation, said it was possible that Australia would be the only developed nation whose regulations would classify beef production as "high risk."


In order to discuss topics like land clearing bans and the status of trade deal negotiations, Trade Minister Don Farrell will meet with a delegation from the Committee on International Trade of the European Parliament.


-      The Sydney Morning Herald

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