The Council responded to alleged reports that the European Union would be altering Australia’s grain-fed beef quota, which it described as “highly valuable” to the industry.
The quota represents three-quarters of Australia’s total EU beef exports, thought to be worth around AU$250 million from 2017-2018.
The organisation also questioned whether the rumours would be in breach of World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.
As it is a member of the EU Red Meat Industry Taskforce, the Council said it had a firm position to maintain status quo access arrangements on the grain-fed quota, ensuring no discriminatory quota allocation.
“Australia’s 3,500 accredited European Union Cattle Accreditation Scheme (EUCAS) cattle producers are part of a supply chain which has made substantial investment and ongoing commitment to producing cattle that can service the EU grain-fed beef market,” said Cattle Council of Australia president Howard Smith.
“Therefore, any detrimental change to accessing the EU market is a very significant concern.”
Australia was verified as an eligible supplier under the EU grain-fed beef quota in January 2010 and the Council said following the verification, it had met the stringent quota specifications.
The European Commission is set to provide a mandate at the next European Council meeting, where they will negotiate Australia’s and the US’ position as beef suppliers.
“If the EU and US agree on a country-specific portion in favour of the US, substantial suppliers such as Australia must be consulted and consent to this allocation. The Australian Government is currently awaiting notification of this consultation,” Smith added.
“The Australian beef industry, via the Taskforce, is working in partnership with the Australian Government to ensure that any change in current arrangements are WTO-compliant.”