Market access

​Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, February 2018

These fact sheets provide current information about how the Australian Government is supporting the agriculture, fisheries and water sectors, and are available for download.

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Key Facts

  • Nearly two-thirds of Australia’s agricultural produce is exported overseas.
  • Australia has 10 free trade agreements with countries including China, Japan and South Korea.
  • Negotiations are continuing with other major trading partners on a range of FTAs—negotiation of the Peru–Australia FTA has concluded and preparations are underway to start negotiating an FTA with the European Union.
  • Free trade agreements improve market access opportunities for Australia’s agriculture sector through reduced tariffs and increased price competitiveness.

Market access


The Australian Government is committed to securing improved access to overseas markets for Australian agriculture, fisheries and forestry products. This is being achieved through negotiating free trade agreements (FTAs) and technical market access requirements.

Free trade agreements are legally binding commitments that promote stronger trade and commercial ties between participating countries. An FTA may cover entire regions with multiple participants or be between two economies. FTAs improve market access opportunities for Australian agriculture, fisheries and forestry exports through reduced tariffs and increased price competitiveness.

FTAs deliver opportunities for Australian agriculture, fisheries and forestry through reduced tariffs and increased price competitiveness.

An FTA does not provide automatic access to an importing country for particular agricultural goods. Market access is subject to the outcome of an assessment by the importing country to ensure those goods do not carry pests and diseases or food safety concerns.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources supports these assessments through science-based analysis, technical expertise, bilateral and multilateral negotiation, integrity and verification systems and relationships built through its network of agricultural experts in 16 key overseas markets.

Expanding market access for Australian agriculture

The Australian Government is expanding market access for our agricultural exports by:

  • negotiating protocols to gain and improve access for agricultural products under FTAs, including with China, the Republic of Korea and Japan
  • negotiating FTAs with major trading partners, including
    • the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership between the 10 members of ASEAN, plus India, Japan, China, Korea and New Zealand
    • the Indonesia–Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement
    • the Australia–Hong Kong FTA negotiating protocols to gain and improve access for agricultural products under FTAs, including with China, the Republic of Korea and Japan
  • preparing for future FTA negotiations with the European Union
  • considering alternative options to capture some of the gains from the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement including negotiating an FTA with the Pacific Alliance, which comprises Chile, Columbia, Mexico and Peru
  • investing $30.8 million under the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper to improve market access and strengthen the department’s capacity to address technical barriers to trade including by expanding the network of agricultural counsellors deployed in key overseas markets
  • addressing non-tariff measures, which are increasingly an impediment to gaining and maintaining market access for Australian agriculture and food exports.

Key market access achievements for 2017

Gaining market access for:

  • peaches, plums, apricots and live feeder/slaughter sheep and goats to China
  • vegetable seeds for sowing to Chile
  • dairy to Fiji
  • lentils to Iran
  • breeder cattle to Cambodia
  • breeder sheep and goats to Canada.

Improving market access for:

  • cherries, table grapes and citrus to China
  • sheep and goat semen to New Caledonia
  • vacuum packed sheep and goat meat to the United Arab Emirates
  • lentils to Bangladesh
  • chickpeas to Pakistan
  • wheat to Iran.

Restoring market access for:

  • cherries to Vietnam
  • honey to Saudi Arabia
  • bovine blood and blood products to China.

More market access achievements are on the department’s website.

Australia’s free trade agreements

The Australian Government has successfully negotiated 10 free trade agreements with:

  • Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and New Zealand—effective 1 January 2010
  • Chile—effective 6 March 2009
  • China—effective 20 December 2015
  • Japan—effective 15 January 2015
  • Malaysia—effective 1 January 2013
  • New Zealand—effective 1 January 1983
  • Republic of Korea—effective 12 December 2014
  • Singapore—effective 28 July 2003
  • Thailand—effective 1 January 2005
  • United States—effective 1 January 2005.

Korea–Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA)

The Republic of Korea is our sixth largest market for agriculture, food and fisheries exports, valued at $3.3 billion in 2016–17. Australian exporters have now benefited from 5 rounds of tariff cuts—the most recent on 1 January 2018. Once the rollout of KAFTA is complete, 98% of Australia’s agricultural exports to Korea will face zero tariffs. Australia’s agricultural exports to Korea in 2016–17 showed further growth:

  • Beef exports were worth $1.2 billion, with beef tariffs falling from pre-KAFTA 40% down to 26.6%, enabling Australia to remain a key beef supplier to Korea.
  • Cheese exports totalled $53.1 million, a 36% increase from $39.1 million in 2015–16.
  • Goat meat exports were worth $14.8 million, a 40% increase from $10.6 million in 2015–16.
  • Fresh oranges exports were worth $2.8 million, a 48% increase from $1.9 million in 2015–16.

China–Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA)

China is Australia’s top market for agricultural food, fisheries and forestry exports—worth almost $11.5 billion in 2016–17. Four tariff cuts have occurred since ChAFTA came into force on 20 December 2015, with the most recent occurring on 1 January 2018—the ChAFTA tariff cuts have contributed to Australia’s strong export growth with China:

  • Table grape exports totalled $148 million in 2017 (Jan-Sept period), an 866% increase from $15.3 million for the full 2015 period. The tariff on table grapes has fallen from 13% to 2.6%.
  • Wine exports were worth $549 million in 2017 (Jan-Sept period), a 51% increase from $364 million for the full 2015 period. The tariff on bottled wine has fallen from 14% to 2.8%.
  • Seafood exports were worth $196 million in 2017, compared to $96 million for the full 2015 period, an increase of 104% with much of this driven by increased demand for Australian rock lobster and abalone in China. The tariff on live rock lobster has fallen from 15% to 3%, and the tariff on live abalone has fallen from 14% to 2.8%.

 

 

Further information

General inquiry 1800 900 090
GPO Box 858, Canberra ACT 2601

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