Australian farmers could be $1 billion winners from US-China trade war,The Sydney Morning Herald,19.8.19

The US-China trade war could deliver Australian farmers a one-off $1 billion boost and generate an extra 3900 jobs just in time to offset the crippling cost of drought.

Special modelling of the fallout from the ongoing trade stoush between the world's two largest economies by EY suggests that while there are likely to be long term problems, there could be a small window of opportunity right now.

Australian wheat could be a winner from the US-China trade war.Credit:Kate Geraghty

EY chief economist Jo Masters said Australia exported $12 billion worth of agricultural goods to China in 2017-18 with much of that beef, wine and wheat.

One of Australia's biggest agricultural competitors in China is America. China has signalled it will effectively block its state-owned enterprises from taking US farm products in retaliation for the Trump administration's tariff plans.

Ms Masters said this delivered an opportunity to Australian farmers.

The net benefit in the short term would be $1 billion in extra farm exports that would generate 3900 full-time equivalent jobs in Australian agriculture. Almost another 1000 jobs would be created in the wider Australian economy.

Longer term, Australian GDP would be $600 million higher.

"We compete with the United States when it comes to agriculture. At least in the early stages there are opportunities for Australian farmers," she said.

The benefit would be larger if the Australian dollar slipped further, making local goods even more competitive in the China market.








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