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Potential FTA bonanza for SA tuna processor.

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Media release

12 February 2004 - A02/2004

Potential FTA Bonanza for SA Tuna Processor

Trade Minister Mark Vaile today visited the South Australian tuna processing facility set to gain up to $20 million per year under the recently negotiated Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA).

"The US Free Trade Agreement will give Port Lincoln Tuna Processors duty free access to the $650 million US canned tuna market from day one by immediately removing the 35 per cent tariff," Mr Vaile said.

"For the first time the company will be able to compete on a level playing field in the US with the potential to boost its turnover by up to 50 per cent and create 70 new jobs for Port Lincoln in the first year alone."

Port Lincoln Tuna Processors is just one of the thousands of small businesses that stand to benefit out of the AUSFTA, with 97 per cent of Australian manufacturing exports to the US having duty free access from day one. In 2003, Australias manufacturing exports to the United States were worth $5.84 billion.

"The US Free Trade Agreement is a huge win for local communities like Port Lincoln right across Australia, offering the promise of new jobs and opening the door to the worlds biggest economy," Mr Vaile said.

Port Lincoln Tuna Processors General Manager, Lindsay Guillot,

agreed the AUSFTA was good news for his company and others like it.

"Our current annual turnover is $35 million, a figure I expect to grow by at least 50 per cent, or $15-20 million, per year with the agreement. Jobs opportunities will also increase. We now employ 250 people, but that number looks set to increase by 70 in the first year and then the skys the limit," Mr Guillot said.

"Regional South Australian cant afford for the agreement to become a political football. It puts at risk jobs, families and the future of an industry trying to improve its global competitiveness."

Port Lincoln Tuna Processors has received support through Austrades TradeStart and New Exporter Development Programs.

Media contact: Matthew Doman 02 6277 7420, Jemima Lohse (Austrade) +61 2 9390 2703