THE US-Korea free trade agreement has begun to disadvantage Australian farmers.
Beef and dairy farmers will be hardest-hit as tariffs on US produce entering Korea were reduced from last week.
Tariffs on Australian produce remain higher as officials work feverishly at trying to close a deal with Korea.
The US-Korea agreement means tariffs on US beef will be reduced by 2.5 per cent a year, from 40 per cent.
Every year it takes Australia to reach a similar deal with Korea will make Australian beef 2.5 per cent dearer than US beef in the Korean market.
The National Farmers' Federation said US farm produce was highly subsidised.
Cattle Council of Australia president Andrew Ogilvie said Australia urgently needed a similar trade deal. "Every year that goes by (until we sign an FTA with the same conditions as the US), we are at an increasing disadvantage," he said.
Korea is Australia's third-biggest beef market, after Japan and the US.
The volumes exported to Korea are much smaller than to the other two countries. But Mr Ogilvie said Korea was important "because of the types of cuts that it takes; it's a very important high-value market for those cuts".
The dairy industry will be similarly disadvantaged by the US deal. Australia exports $90 million of dairy produce to Korea annually.
Trade Minister Craig Emerson said this week reaching a deal was proving tricky.