Australia Free Trade Agreement Sugar: What You Need to Know

Australia`s free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States has been a topic of discussion and controversy for many years. One of the biggest points of contention has been the sugar trade between both countries. The agreement was signed in 2004 and allows for the import of Australian sugar into the United States without any tariffs. However, the amount of sugar allowed to be imported is limited, and the agreement has faced scrutiny from the US sugar industry.

What is the Australia Free Trade Agreement?

The Australia Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) is a bilateral agreement between Australia and the United States that was signed in 2004. The agreement aims to reduce barriers to trade between the two countries, making it easier and more cost-effective for businesses to export and import goods and services. The agreement covers a wide range of industries, including agriculture, manufacturing, and services.

What is the Sugar Trade Agreement?

Under the sugar trade agreement between the US and Australia, the US agreed to eliminate its tariffs on Australian sugar imports. In exchange, Australia agreed to limit the amount of sugar it exports to the US. The agreement allows for 87,402 metric tons of sugar to be imported from Australia each year. This amount represents less than 0.5% of the US sugar market.

Why is the Sugar Trade Agreement Controversial?

The sugar trade agreement has been controversial since it was signed. Critics argue that the agreement does not do enough to protect the US sugar industry. The US sugar industry is heavily subsidized, and many argue that the agreement gives an unfair advantage to Australian sugar producers. Some have also argued that the agreement has hurt the US sugar industry by driving down prices and reducing demand.

On the other hand, supporters of the agreement argue that it has been beneficial for both countries. Australian sugar producers have gained access to the lucrative US market, while US consumers have access to cheaper sugar. Proponents of the agreement also argue that it has helped to strengthen the relationship between the US and Australia.

What is the Current Status of the Sugar Trade Agreement?

The sugar trade agreement is still in effect, but it has faced challenges in recent years. In 2020, the US Department of Commerce revoked its previous agreement on how to calculate the amount of sugar allowed to be imported from Australia. This move has caused concern among Australian sugar producers, who fear that the amount of sugar they can export to the US may be reduced.


The sugar trade agreement under the Australia Free Trade Agreement is a controversial topic that has been debated for many years. While both countries have benefited from the agreement, there are concerns that it may be hurting the US sugar industry. As the agreement continues to face challenges, it will be interesting to see how the issue is resolved and what impact it will have on both countries.