Agricultural Trade Matters, May 2015

​​​​​​​​​​​Agricultural Trade Matters

​​​​​​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.

This is a past edition of Agricultural trade news.

You can now view the current edition of Agricultural trade matters, for a snapshot of the department’s latest work on agricultural trade.

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Benefits from multilateral engagement for Australian agriculture

Australia has a long history of participation in multilateral trade and economic development organisations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Through the WTO, the department works to encourage more transparency in markets and a more effective trading environment for export and two-way trade.

Continue reading about Australia's multilateral engagement

WTO members praise Australia — Australia’s Trade Policy Review

One way that the WTO works to improve transparency in markets is through regular review of members’ trade policies. Trade Policy Reviews are similar to peer reviews and encourage governments to follow WTO rules and fulfil their international obligations.

The seventh WTO Trade Policy Review of Australia, held in Geneva on 21 and 23 April 2015, was preceded by over a year’s work undertaken by the WTO Secretariat and Australian government agencies to develop a detailed report on Australia’s trade and economic policies. The report, provided to WTO Members for comment, prompted over 600 questions to which the Department of Agriculture and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade responded. Topics included Australia’s biosecurity regime, technical and phytosanitary processes, labelling, geographical indications, research and development and levies systems.

At the conclusion of the review, WTO members praised Australia’s economic management, its liberalising approach to trade and continuing engagement in international trade policy. Members noted our consistent record and ongoing ability to meet challenges through agricultural trade reforms.

Australia at the G20 agriculture ministers meeting in Turkey

The G20 agriculture ministers met on 8 May 2015 in Istanbul, Turkey, to promote sustainable food systems and reducing food loss and waste. The Hon. Senator Richard Colbeck, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, delivered Australia’s statement highlighting the role of agricultural reforms in enhancing productivity and investment, creating open and transparent markets, and increasing agricultural trade. Ministers’ agreed to a communiqué that includes:

  • Political support for implementing the G20 Food Security and Nutrition Framework linking food security to G20’s core economic issues – investment, productivity and jobs. 
  • Agreeing to establish a platform to share information about measuring and reducing food loss and waste.

This agreement will help tackle the issue of food loss and waste and help identify how commercial opportunities from food loss can be created. G20 agricultural deputies, in collaboration with the G20 development working group, are now preparing a ‘G20 action plan on food security / sustainable food system’ for consideration at the Antalya Summit in November 2015.

As part of Australia’s G20 Presidency, the department was able to advance the interests of agriculture and global food security by strengthening some of the G20’s existing agriculture and food security initiatives, promoting open and transparent market information and increasing agricultural productivity through research, innovation and collaboration.

Did you know? G20 members received $27.5 billion or 61 per cent of our agricultural exports in 2014.

Orange is the new black — Australia and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC)

The FAO is home to the Secretariat of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). The Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (a governing body of the IPPC) recently adopted three cold disinfestation treatments for Queensland fruit fly on citrus varieties. These treatments were proposed by Australia. They are the first cold treatments to be adopted by the IPPC in support of Australia’s endeavours to increase export opportunities for citrus growers. Around 165,000 tonnes of Australian citrus are exported annually.

Good neighbours and good friends — Australia represents the SW Pacific region in the FAO

Australia plays an important leadership role in the FAO, representing not only our own interests but also the interests of the Pacific region. As co–chair of FAO South West Pacific region group of countries, Australia has been promoting the agricultural and food security needs of Pacific Island countries. Through their involvement, Pacific Island countries are also becoming more aware of the agricultural initiatives available to them through the FAO. Participation at this meeting also resolved a technical market access issue with Papua New Guinea.


Improving market access for agricultural exports

Good breeding counts

Malaysia has agreed to health conditions for the import of Australian breeder deer, with the Philippines also agreeing to health conditions for the import of Australian breeder sheep and goats. Exports of breeder deer, sheep and goats have previously taken place, however this was through the use of ad hoc import permits. The recently agreed import health protocol and health certificate provides certainty on health conditions for Australian exporters.

More information on market access achievements is available on the department's website.

Reaping the benefits of recent free trade agreements

The Japan–Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) and the Korea–Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) have now entered into force and are already benefiting Australian agricultural producers and exporters.

Continue reading about JAEPA and KAFTA

Japan–Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA)

Australian agriculture industries are seeing benefits from the JAEPA following entry into force on 15 January 2015.

The successful negotiation of an import protocol in 2015 and a reduction of tariffs on table grapes have resulted in a significant growth in exports of Australian table grapes to Japan in the 2015 season. Over 100 consignments have been exported so far, compared to 14 consignments in the 2014 season. Tariff eliminations under JAEPA include:

  • Other horticultural exports, including asparagus, mangoes, macadamias, olives and cherries (for our export season).
  • Seafood exports to Japan including abalone, rock lobster, prawns and oysters.

The second round of tariff cuts for JAEPA came into effect on 1 April 2015. This has helped significantly reduce tariffs across a range of commodities including for beef where the 38.5 per cent tariff on chilled and frozen beef has now been reduced to 31.5 per cent and 28.5 per cent respectively. Beef exports increased by 24 per cent over the equivalent period last year.

Korea–Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA)

Good outcomes are being seen for Australian agricultural producers with the entry into force of the KAFTA on 12 December 2014. KAFTA has eliminated tariffs across a range of agriculture commodities including raw sugar, wheat, wine, cotton seed and some horticulture products (cherries, almonds, dried grapes and chipping potatoes).

The elimination of a 24 per cent tariff on cherries has improved opportunities for the Tasmanian cherry industry, where exports in the last export season (2014–15) totalled 247.6 tonnes (valued at almost $4 million) compared to $69,000 for the 2013–14 export season.

The second round of tariff cuts on 1 January 2015 halved the tariff on table grapes to 24 per cent. Combined with the conclusion of a table grapes protocol, this has helped with the export of over 35 consignments (550 tonnes) to Korea this year.

Beef exports from Australia to Korea now face a 34.7 per cent tariff, down from the 40 per cent tariff before KAFTA’s entry into force. This improves Australia’s position in the market place against our major competitor, the United States.

More information on free trade agreements is available on the department's website.


Engaging with our trading partners

Harvesting benefits from wheat and barley protocol with China

Senator the Hon. Richard Colbeck, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, led a delegation to Japan and China from 19 to 24 April 2015. The visit played an important part in strengthening our agricultural and trade relationships, particularly following the entry in to force of the JAEPA and the conclusion of negotiations on the China–Australia Free Trade Agreement. Senator Colbeck engaged in high–level discussions about a range of agricultural market access issues. He also signed a wheat and barley protocol with China to facilitate the continued $1.5 billion annual wheat and barley trade with China.

Cultivating a fruitful relationship with Japan

Australia hosted the fourth Australia–Japan High Level Agricultural Dialogue on 27 March 2015 in Canberra. The meeting came at an opportune time, following entry into force of the Japan–Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) on 15 January 2015. Discussions noted the smooth implementation of JAEPA so far and the increased flow of trade as a result of the first two rounds of tariff reductions.

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