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New protocol provides fruitful export opportunities
Australian horticulture producers and exporters received a boost last week with Australia and China agreeing to new market access protocols for peaches, plums and apricots and improved access for Australian cherries, table grapes and citrus.
Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Luke Hartsuyker, said the new agreements will deliver practical and commercially viable export opportunities for Australia's summerfruit producers and exporters.
"Opening and improving agricultural market access is a priority for the Coalition Government, as exports underpin the profitability of our agriculture sector and support valuable farmgate returns," Minister Hartsuyker said.
"These agreements with China will support new and improved market access for a range of valuable and important Australian horticulture commodities and will complement the access already achieved for Australian nectarines.
"It means Australian peaches, plums and apricots will soon be joining Australian nectarines on the shelves of Chinese supermarkets and greengrocers, just in time for the upcoming export season, and as a result of tariff cuts under the China–Australia Free Trade Agreement—Australia's horticultural exports will be even more competitive."
These agreements with China will support new and improved market access for a range of valuable and important Australian horticulture commodities...
Luke Hartsuyker, Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources
Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, said China is one of Australia's most important trading partners and this is welcome news for our $9 billion horticulture industry as a whole.
"The agreements will also see improvements to the existing conditions for Australian cherries, citrus and table grapes, to provide better access for Australian exporters," Assistant Minister Ruston said.
"Exports of cherries, citrus and table grapes to China were worth over $230 million in 2016-17. The improvements in the protocols for these products will allow Australian producers and exporters to take advantage of the improved conditions to export more fruit to China in the upcoming season.
"This will not only benefit our farmers and economy, but will also ensure Chinese consumers continue to have access to the high-quality and safe produce that Australia is known for."
The improvements in the protocols for these products will allow Australian producers and exporters to take advantage of the improved conditions to export more fruit to China in the upcoming season.
Senator Anne Ruston, Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources
Cherry Growers Australia has projected exports to China could grow by as much as $50 million in future years and Summerfruit Australia expect similar growth. The Australian Table Grape Association projects exports to increase by up to $100 million.
The chairman of Summer Fruit Australia Limited (SAL) Andrew Finlay applauded the work done by Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR).
"The Departmental negotiation team and councillors are to be congratulated and the work done by John Moore from SAL in building the relationships within China that have been crucial in achieving this announcement," Mr Finlay said.
"DAWR has worked closely with the Summerfruit Export Development Alliance (SEDA), a self-funded subcommittee of SAL comprised of growers passionate about developing a dynamic export sector for Australian stonefruit, and this willingness to work in an open and constructive way with industry has resulted in a practical protocol that will allow Australian growers to be able to compete on favourable terms with other southern hemisphere suppliers to China.
"This new protocol has provided the pathway for substantial trade in peaches, plums and apricots between Australia and China to occur.
The announcement for protocols for the export of peaches, plums and apricots from Australia to China highlights what can be achieved for the agriculture sector in Australia when governments, the industry RDC and growers share common goals...
Andrew Finlay, Chairman, Summer Fruit Australia Limited
"The Australian Summerfruit industry, through Hort Innovation, has invested a considerable amount of grower paid levies, matched by Commonwealth funding provided through the Agricultural levies program to do the research work necessary to underpin components of the market access negotiations conducted by DAWR during the lead up to the announcement.
"Additionally, the investments made by Hort Innovation, using the Summerfruit levy to support the existing nectarine access into China, will have significant beneficial flow on effects now for Australian peaches, plums and apricots in China.
"The announcement for protocols for the export of peaches, plums and apricots from Australia to China highlights what can be achieved for the agriculture sector in Australia when governments, the industry RDC and growers share common goals and aspirations and are able to collectively channel their efforts, resulting in an outcome that will deliver huge benefits to those areas in regional Australia where stonefruit is grown," Mr Finlay said.
The revised conditions for cherries, citrus and table grapes include recognition of Australia's fruit fly pest-free areas, as well as improved and more commercially-viable pre-export treatments.
The agreement supports long-held ambitions for Australian producers and will enable our horticulture commodities under the new and improved protocols to go from the paddock to Chinese markets in a faster and more cost-effective manner