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Trade and market access

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ABARES’ programme of international and trade research provides analysis of key global policy issues of importance to Australian agriculture and Australia’s position in bilateral and multilateral trade agreement negotiations.

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Image of globe showing emphasis on AsiaAsia’s economic and population growth, and rate of urbanisation have contributed to changes in global food demand. More than half of Australia’s agricultural exports in 2015–16 were destined for Asia. The region is home to the top export destination for Australian wheat, barley, sugar, wool, cheese and numerous horticultural products.

Food demand to 2050: Opportunities for Australian agriculture

In Food Demand to 2050: Opportunities for Australian agriculture, ABARES has assessed the implications for Australian food exports of an increase in global food demand by 2050. The real value of world agri-food demand in 2050 (in 2007 US dollars) is projected to be 77 per cent higher than in 2007. The projections in this paper provide an assessment of a plausible scenario for growth in global food demand and the broad potential effects of this growth in food demand.

Food demand to 2050: Opportunities for Australian agriculture–Algebraic description of agrifood model

This paper is a technical annex to Food demand to 2050: opportunities for Australian agriculture, released on 6 March 2012. Its purpose is to provide an algebraic description of the ABARES agrifood model that was used for ABARES long-term projections of world agrifood demand.

Global food production and prices to 2050: scenario analysis under policy assumptions

With food security at the forefront of government policy agendas worldwide, much of the focus is on how the world will respond to a rise in food demand over the next 40 years. Building on agrifood modelling in ABARES Food demand to 2050: Opportunities for Australian agriculture (Linehan et al. 2012a), this report uses three scenarios to investigate the possible response of world food prices, food production and trade to the projected increase in demand.

What Asia wants: Long-term food consumption trends in Asia

What Asia wants assesses future trends in Asian food demand and identifies opportunities for Australian agriculture and food industries in expanding Asian markets over the long term.


China is Australia’s largest agricultural export market. The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement entered into force on 20 December 2015. Australia’s agricultural exports in 2015–16 totalled $8.2 billion. The top three agricultural exports were wool, beef and veal, and barley.

The Future of Chinese agricultural policy

Map of China

The Future of Chinese agricultural policy report analyses the future of Chinese agricultural policy and the key opportunities and challenges for Australia's dairy, grain and meat exporters. This research report examines how the direction of Chinese agricultural policy has changed recently. It says the emphasis of the new policy direction is on supply side reform, in line with the Chinese president's reform agenda. It examines key policy documents released since 2017 outline reforms that have implications for the future of Australian agricultural exports to China.

ABARES Insights: Analysis of the future of Chinese agricultural policy

This ABARES Insights brief summarises The Future of Chinese agricultural policy research report, designed for a general audience.

What China wants: Analysis of China's food demand to 2050

What China wants: Analysis of China's food demand to 2050 investigates the developing agrifood production, consumption and trade trends out to 2050. The study considers demand across three different income groups: urban high income, urban medium income and rural households.

China’s self-sufficiency policy

China’s self-sufficiency policy article by analysts Matthew Hyde and Faraz Syed examines China’s recent growth in imports of food to highlight how changes in trade might affect the self-sufficiency objective.

Key agricultural outcomes of recent free trade agreements 

This Key agricultural outcomes of recent free trade agreements​​ article discusses the key agricultural outcomes of the China–Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) and summarises the Korea–Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) and the Japan–Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA).​

Impact of African swine fever on global markets

African swine fever (ASF) has spread to every province in China since the first official report in August 2018. Outbreaks of the disease have also been reported in neighbouring Asian countries and in wild pig herds in Europe. The impact of ASF on the global pig meat industry is only gradually becoming clear.

Chinese Government statistics indicate a 26% year-on-year decline in the national pig herd at 30 June 2019, but some industry estimates are as high as 40%. ASF in China will have a significant impact on global agricultural markets. This is because China has around 50% of the global pig herd and accounts for around 50% of global pig meat consumption. This article examines how ASF is likely to affect global and Australian agricultural markets.

European Union

The European Union is Australia’s sixth-largest export destination for agricultural products, mainly for almonds, beef, rapeseed, wine and wool. It is also Australia’s largest source of agricultural imports, which largely consist of alcoholic beverages, dairy products, pig meat and processed vegetables.

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A stocktake of selected agricultural markets of the European Union

This compendium examines the markets of five EU agricultural industries —almonds, beef, dairy, sheep meat and sugar. The chapters were originally published as articles in ABARES Agricultural commodities quarterly reports between June 2016 and March 2017. Each chapter has been updated and is current as at June 2017.

The report covers high-value commodities and Australian industries with growth potential. Improved market access to large EU markets could be significant for Australia. The objective of this analysis is to inform stakeholders of this potential and to highlight opportunities for Australia in these markets.


India has been one of the world's fastest growing economies since around 2000. That growth has precipitated rising household incomes and a gradual increase in the proportion of the population living in urban centres. These trends are projected to continue to 2050. As a result, consumption of agrifood products has been rising, and is projected to more than double between 2009 and 2050.

What India wants: Analysis of India's food demand to 2050

Map of India

What India wants aims to assess future trends in Indian food consumption, production and trade under four hypothetical scenarios involving reform to existing producer and consumer support policies and increased investment in productivity and infrastructure.

Managing agricultural price risk: implications for India

Managing agricultural price risk: implications for India is a capacity building project between ABARES and the National Centre for National Centre of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research (NCAP) in New Delhi, India. The objective of the ABARES/NCAP project is to develop a model to undertake analysis of Indian agristaples policies which have been designed to address agricultural price risk. Agristaples are staple food products essential for the nutritional wellbeing of a population. In India, the principal agristaples are wheat and rice.

Three reports have been produced for this project:

India’s economic prospects and implications for Australia’s commodity exports

This 2007 paper examines India’s economic growth in the early 2000s, which has been driven by economic reforms and opening up to the global economy.

Indian agriculture: trends, trade and policy reforms

This 2004 paper reviews the state of Indian agriculture in the early 2000s, including a brief overview of key agricultural policies introduced in the 40 years to 2004.


Indonesia has emerged as a growing and important market for Australian agricultural commodities. Agricultural exports in 2015–16 totalled $3.1 billion, dominated by wheat and live cattle. The value of agri-food consumption in Indonesia is projected to quadruple between 2009 and 2050. The Agreement Establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area, which includes Indonesia, entered into force in January 2010.

What Indonesia wants: Analysis of Indonesia's food demand to 2050

Map of Indonesia

With significant income growth and urbanisation, food demand in Indonesia is expected to increase significantly towards 2050. This study examines projected food demand in Indonesia across urban and rural populations under a business-as-usual policy environment with no changes to underlying policies.

Republic of Korea

The Republic of Korea is one of Australia’s largest agricultural export markets. Agricultural exports to the Republic of Korea in 2015–16 totalled $3.2 billion. The top three agricultural exports were beef and veal, sugar and wheat. The Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement entered into force on 12 December 2014.

Map of Korea

Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement

This article provides an overview of the key agricultural outcomes of KAFTA, with a scenario analysis of potential change in Australian beef and cheese exports to the Republic of Korea.

Korea Beef Market: Developments and Prospects

The Republic of Korea and Australia play important roles in world beef markets-particularly in Pacific Rim trade. For Australia, this report will provide useful insights to developments in the Korean beef industry and the factors driving those developments. For Korea, this report will gain a better understanding of the significance of the Australian beef industry in the global market & of the industry's various components.

South America

South America is a major competitor for Australia in agricultural commodity export markets. Like Australia, the region’s main exports include beef, grains, oilseeds, sugar and livestock products.

South America: an emerging competitor for Australia's beef industry

Map of South America

Our special report into the South American beef industry profiles the beef industries of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, including their growth over the past two decades. The report includes forward looking scenario analysis undertaken to assess the potential impacts of this region to Australia's future beef exports.

The ABARES bilateral trade decomposition model. Technical annex to ‘South America: an emerging competitor for Australia’s beef industry

Recent developments in Argentina’s agricultural export policies

Argentina is the second-largest agricultural exporter in Latin America. However, historically export restrictions and currency controls constrained the growth of Argentine agricultural production and exports. Following the presidential election in late 2015, these restrictions were either removed or reduced. This article discusses the history of Argentina’s restrictive trade policies and potential adjustments to its agricultural sector.

The Brazilian sugar industry

Natasha Frawley reviews the Brazilian sugar industry, finding that the South American nation is expected to remain a relatively low-cost sugar producer despite its infrastructure challenges and rising production costs. Its abundant arable land and relatively favourable climate will support the industry into the future and allow it to respond to the expected rise in global demand for sugar.

South American wine industry

Andrew Cameron focuses on Chile and Argentina, which are both major competitors in Australia’s export markets. Significant investment in the wine industries of both countries has led to improved wine quality, which has supported the expansion of exports of high-value, high-quality wine into many of Australia’s major wine markets.

United States

The United States is Australia’s second largest agricultural export market. Agricultural exports in 2015–16 totalled $4.6 billion. The top three agricultural exports were beef and veal meat, lamb meat and wine. The Australia–United States Free Trade Agreement entered into force on 1 January 2005.

2014 US farm bill

On 7 February 2014 the US Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 farm bill) came into force. The US farm bill is the legislative basis for management of federal agricultural support, including agricultural producer support programmes, the food stamp programme and the administration of crop insurance. A new farm bill is passed every five to six years. This article provides a brief summary of key changes from the 2008 farm bill.

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2012 US farm bill

This article provides an overview of key elements of existing US policies for farm program crops and the status of the 2012 US farm bill. It also makes an initial assessment of the House and Senate versions of the proposed risk management provisions for program crops.

The 2008 US Farm Bill - what is in it and what will it change?

In May 2008, the US Government enacted a new Farm Bill setting down US agricultural policies up to and including 2012. This Bill retained most traditional agricultural support measures but it also introduces extra support options for the major field crops. Additionally, the Bill made considerable changes to support arrangements for dairy and sugar, and to disaster relief arrangements. While the Bill was important for US farmers, it was also important for farmers around the world, including Australia, as US policies markedly affect world agricultural trade and prices. In this report, important aspects of the Bill are examined and their effects are assessed.

Major US Farm Support Policies and their links to WTO Domestic Support Commitments

Under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture, the US has undertaken to limit its AMS to US$19.1 billion a year from 2000. The US domestic support notifications to date have been based on a particular set of interpretations of WTO rules. This 2009 report highlights the critical nature of those specific interpretations in the US meeting its AMS commitments. The report also highlights the effects of alternative interpretations, including those arising from WTO rulings.

ABARES Insights: Analysis of United States and Australian agriculture—a comparison

The United States is a major producer and the largest exporter of agricultural commodities. Because of the size of its agriculture sector, changes in production, trade and policy can affect international markets. This has been demonstrated by the China-US trade dispute, which has caused a diversion in exports for Australia and other countries. This Insights report compares the Australian and US agricultural sectors, and briefly profiles US agricultural policy, to highlight Australia's exposure to shifts in the global market resulting from the trade war.

Trade issues of interest

Multilateral trade agreements

Australia has bilateral and regional free trade agreements with many of its major agricultural export destinations. These include China, Japan, Republic of Korea, the United States and the ASEAN countries. Australian and EU officials recently completed a joint FTA scoping exercise and are working towards a launch of formal negotiations for a free trade agreement.

Key agricultural outcomes of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) aims to lower barriers to trade and investment between 12 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. This article discusses the key agricultural market access outcomes of the TPP for Australia.

Fisheries trade

Trade agreements with Pacific and Asian partner countries provide a benefit to Australia’s seafood sector. By value, Australia exports about half of its seafood production, with key markets being Japan and the China, Vietnam, Hong Kong region. Seafood imports are also significant, contributing to over 60 per cent of Australia’s total seafood apparent consumption (by volume). ABARES latest information on trends and statistics for Australia’s fisheries and aquaculture products is part of our annual Fisheries and Aquaculture Statistics series.

Non-tariff measures

Non-tariff measures affecting Australian agriculture

Since the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture came into effect on 1 January 1995, countries around the world have progressively reduced import tariffs and global agricultural trade has grown. However, the use of non-tariff measures (NTMs) has also grown. This article provides an introduction to NTMs and explains their potential economic effects and prevalence in Australian agriculture​.

Agricultural export price and volume indicators

This paper introduces new agricultural export price and volume indicators. These indicators cover a gap in the available agricultural export statistics and will provide further insights into Australian agricultural exports.

The new indicators form an export account and provide disaggregated price and volume indicators across Australian agricultural sectors and industries. The indicators have been compiled on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis.

Global value chains

ABARES Insights: Snapshot of Australia’s place in global agriculture and food value chains

The world’s food and fibre is increasingly being produced within global production networks that span a number of countries.

Australian agriculture is already part of these chains and benefiting through export and employment growth. However, while global value chains are offering new opportunities, both within agriculture and for the sectors that support it, recent trade disruptions and a lack of progress in multilateral trade negotiations pose risks.

This Snapshot examines how global value chains have created new opportunities for Australian agriculture  and how they are important for further opening of import markets.


Media releases


Last reviewed:
20 Sep 2019