Farmers could survive US tariffs: minister

Agriculture is in a strong position to absorb any shock tariffs from the US, Canberra says.n farmers have access to enough global markets to survive any escalation in tariffs from the United States, Agriculture Minister David Littleproud believes.

Mr Littleproud says the government’s record on trade deals, including landing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, has put agriculture in a strong place to absorb any shock tariffs imposed by US President Donald Trump.

“We’ve been able to spread the risk globally around the world for our producers in the agricultural sector, but also in terms of other industries,” he told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

Mr Trump has announced he will put a 25 per cent tariff on steel imports and 10 per cent on aluminium.

The US is adamant there will be no exemptions, but the n government has continued to lobby for one, which is understood to have been promised on the sidelines of last year’s G20 summit.

The move has sparked fears of a “trade war” which could spread to other sectors.

“One part of the world may want to move into protectionism, we don’t,” Mr Littleproud said.

“We in need to engage with the world, particularly in the agriculture sector, more than anybody.”

Trade Minister Steven Ciobo will sign the 11-nation TPP, which does not include the US, in Chile later this week.

Mr Littleproud pointed to that deal, along with agreements with South Korea, Japan and China, as evidence export markets won’t suffer from further US tariffs.

“I’m confident our track record can be put on the ground against any government of any nation and it’s top of the pops as far as I’m concerned,” Mr Littleproud said.

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