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.

Recent research:

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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.

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

Map of China

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).​


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.


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’, Agricultural Commodities, vol.4, no.2, June, pp. 27–37.
Korea Beef Market: Developments and Prospects, ABARE Research Report 09.11

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’ Agricultural Commodities, vol 6. No1, March pp 38– 43
The Brazilian sugar industry’, Agricultural Commodities, vol.6 no.2, June, pp 63 – 67

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.

Image of European Union

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.

Image of United States

2012 US farm bill’, Agricultural Commodities, vol. 2, no. 3, September, pp.115–24.
2014 US farm bill’, Agricultural Commodities, vol.4, no.2, June, pp.22–26.
The 2008 US Farm Bill — What is in it and What Will it Change? ABARE Research Report 08.14 December 2008
Major US Farm Support Policies and their Links to WTO Domestic Support Commitments, ABARE Research Report 09.1, Canberra

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, Agricultural Commodities, vol 5. No.4, December, pp 31–45

Last reviewed:
20 Jun 2017