Agricultural trade matters provides an overview of what the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and the Australian Government are doing to support international agricultural trade.
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North Asia FTA trifecta
China, Japan and Korea are three of Australia’s largest agricultural export markets and account for approximately 35 per cent of our agriculture, fisheries and forestry exports.
The Australian Government has delivered a trifecta of trade agreements with these very important trading partners, levelling the playing field against competitors who already have FTAs in force. These will position Australia ahead of countries yet to conclude FTAs and offer substantial commercial opportunities for Australian agricultural producers and exporters for years to come.
The Korea–Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) entered into force on 12 December 2014 followed by the Japan–Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) on 15 January 2015. China–Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) negotiations concluded on 17 November 2014 and steps are being taken, including formally signing the Agreement, to facilitate entry into force.
Continue reading about the North Asia FTAs
The Japan–Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) was signed on 8 July 2014 and entered into force on 15 January 2015. It delivered an initial tariff cut on entry into force and a second is to follow on 1 April 2015. The agreement will provide valuable preferential access for Australia's agricultural exports by eliminating or significantly reducing tariffs on a wide range of Australian exports including wine, horticulture, seafood, and stockfeeds over timeframes of zero to 18 years and large upfront reductions on beef.
The Korea–Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) was signed on 8 April 2014 and entered into force on 12 December 2014. It has already delivered two tariff cuts in quick succession: one on entry into force, and a second on 1 January 2015. The KAFTA is a strong and liberalising agreement for agriculture that secures improved market access through elimination of very high tariffs on a wide range of exports including beef, wheat, sugar, dairy, wine, horticulture and seafood.
On 17 November 2014, Prime Minister Abbott and President Xi announced the conclusion of negotiations for the China–Australia Free Trade Agreement. ChAFTA will open significant opportunities for Australian agriculture with Australia’s largest agricultural export market. ChAFTA will eliminate tariffs on a wide range of exports including dairy, wine, horticulture, seafood and meat over four to eight years ensuring competitiveness against key competitors.More information on free trade agreements is available on the departement's website.
A global team player — multilateral engagement advancing agriculture
Australia has a long and proud history of actively participating in international agricultural organisations such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and in multilateral trade and economic development organisations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Through these forums, the Department of Agriculture represents the interests of Australian farmers, agricultural businesses, exporters, the government and the community when negotiating standards, policies and the 'rules of racing' for global agricultural trade.
Through our engagement in these organisations, the department is working to encourage more transparent and predictable agricultural markets to create growth, and increase export opportunities and two-way trade. By working with others to encourage global agricultural growth we also hope to improve incomes in developing countries – not just for farmers but for the whole population.
Agriculture in the G20
In 2015 Turkey is the G20 president and the Department of Agriculture is now preparing for participation in their agricultural agenda which is focusing on sustainable agricultural systems including food waste and loss as part of food security.
In 2014 Australia had a leading role to play on the world stage as host of the G20, the world's premier economic forum. As part of its G20 Presidency, the department was able to advance the interests of agriculture and global food security by:
- Chairing the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) and working with the FAO and others to encourage market transparency and open discussion about food price volatility.
- Partnering with the OECD and chairing the G20's chief agricultural scientists to lead dialogue about the policies and innovation required to improve agricultural productivity in G20 countries, feed populations and encourage more growth and trade.
- Working with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to support work to develop the G20's long term approach to food security — a Food Security and Nutrition Framework, agreed by G20 leaders in November 2014.
Australia Business Week in India
Australia Business Week in India (ABWI), held in early January 2015, attracted over 450 business delegates to attend from Australia. Of these, 30 dairy and premium food and wine delegates travelled around North India meeting importers, retailers, restaurant and hotel chain managers and dairy industry representatives. Delegates came away with a better understanding of the enormous potential of the Indian market for Australian products including premium food and wine, bovine genetics and dairy products, as well as expertise and technology.
As part of ABWI, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, attended roundtable discussions between Australian delegates and Indian businesses. He also travelled with the delegates to Mumbai and Ahmedabad and visited a dairy farm and a factory near Delhi. Through meeting with Indian ministers and state leaders with responsibility for agriculture, fisheries and textiles, Senator Colbeck was able to reinforce Australia’s interest in concluding a high quality FTA — Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement with India.
Australian winemakers event in the United States
In October 2014, the Australian Embassy in Washington, in partnership with Wine Australia and leading US wine importer Negociants USA, hosted a series of events at the Embassy to promote Australian wine and food. The events featured six leading Australian winemakers including Yalumba, Jim Barry Wines, Henschke, Langmeil, Wirra Wirra and Vasse Felix. The program comprised a master class seminar and trade tasting for wine buyers and other industry professionals from top retail establishments and restaurants. A reception featuring a grand tasting accompanied by specialty Australian foods, such as kangaroo, beef, lamb and bush spices, was also held for over 180 guests and was attended by trade representatives and buyers as well as key industry, diplomatic and political representatives in Washington.
Market access achievements
Market access for Australian mangoes and lychees to the United States
Australian lychee and mango growers are now able to export to the United States (US). Market access for Australian lychees and mangoes was one of the agricultural priority market requests negotiated under the US–Australia Free Trade Agreement. In order to ensure access, extensive work was undertaken by the Department of Agriculture, together with the industry, to verify that Australian exporters could meet US import standards. Total mango production in Australia was 45,000 tonnes in 2012–13 with exports totalling $16 million. Australian lychee growers produce approximately 3,500–4,000 tonnes of fruit each year, with exports estimated to be worth $18 to $20 million.
Livestock export market to Lebanon now open
The Department of Agriculture has reached agreement with Lebanese authorities on animal health certification requirements for the export of live feeder and slaughter cattle, sheep and goats from Australia. Initial industry forecasts indicate strong prospects for growth in exports to the country under the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System. Australia is a safe and reliable supplier of livestock to the region and the opening of the Lebanese market provides another opportunity for Australian producers to compete in the international market place. Lebanon is the fourth livestock market to open in the Middle East and North Africa in 2014 after Egypt, Bahrain and Iran.
New access for Australian feeder and slaughter cattle to Thailand
Australia was granted access for feeder and slaughter cattle into Thailand on 21 November 2014. There is significant commercial interest in the Thai market, with the first shipment of cattle departing Australia in January 2015. Industry estimates that live cattle exports to Thailand could reach up to 30,000 head annually.
The department worked closely with industry and Thailand Department of Livestock Development to achieve this market access breakthrough, which required the development of an agreed health protocol and a visit by the Thailand government to Australia to audit Australia’s animal health systems. Under the Thailand–Australia Free Trade Agreement, Australia enjoys zero tariffs on feeder and slaughter cattle imports into Thailand.
Further information on market access achievements is available on the department's website.