Agricultural Trade Matters, December 2019
Agricultural trade matters provides an overview of what the Department of Agriculture and the Australian Government are doing to support international agricultural trade.
This is the current edition, published December 2019.
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Minister for Agriculture Bridget McKenzie met Vietnam’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nguyen Xuan Cuong, on one of the stops on the tour to Australia’s trading partners in Asia.
Minister for Agriculture Bridget McKenzie completed a week-long tour to trading partners in Asia at the end of August.
The minister was joined by the head of the Department of Agriculture Daryl Quinlivan, as well as heads of other government departments and agricultural industry representatives, on a trip that aimed to further strengthen our relationships with Japan, Korea and Vietnam.
Amy Fox, head of the Department of Agriculture’s Strategic Trade Policy and North Asia Branch, said that the visit presented a prime opportunity to promote Australia’s food and fibre to some of our largest trading partners.
‘Japan, Korea and Vietnam are Australia’s 2nd, 4th and 8th largest agricultural export markets respectively, and collectively they accounted for 21% of our agriculture, fisheries and forestry exports in 2018,’ Ms Fox said.
Read more about #AusAgtoAsia – Minister McKenzie’s visit to Japan, Korea and Vietnam
‘Top of the agenda for this trip was reinforcing that Australia’s agriculture industry is world-class. We provide reliable, clean and quality food and fibre.’
In each country, Minister McKenzie met with government officials to advance key agricultural priorities and reinforce the importance Australia places on our bilateral agricultural relationships.
‘Our free trade agreements and other partnerships have provided a strong platform for growing our trade with these markets,’ Ms Fox said.
‘As a result, the minister and delegation were able to see Australian products on supermarket shelves first-hand in the countries they visited.
‘However, the international trade environment is a competitive field, so we can’t rest on our laurels. We have to be continually active in these markets and show that we will work collaboratively and respectfully with partner governments.’
The trip also provided plenty of opportunity for the accompanying industry delegation to network and build relationships. In many of our markets, particularly those in Asia, building relationships is a critical part of doing business.
‘Strengthening our position in these markets is vital for the hundreds of thousands of people employed in our agricultural industries, so maintaining strong relationships with these partners is critical,’ Ms Fox said.
‘If Australia is to build its agricultural industry to $100 billion by 2030, we need to nurture these international relationships.’
Find out more about Australia’s free trade agreements.
Head of the Multilateral Agriculture Policy and Bilateral branch Matthew Worrell (far left) at the 5th Food Security Ministerial Meeting in Puerto Varas, Chile.
Open, efficient and reliable international agricultural and food markets help to manage risks and allow food to move to where it is needed. This in turn improves access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food for people across the world.
This perspective forms a crucial part of Australia’s approach to food security, the focus of the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Food Security Week and the 5th Food Security Ministerial Meeting in Puerto Varas, Chile.
Food Security Week, held from 15–24 August 2019, saw representatives from all 21 APEC member economies come together to explore approaches to food security.
The key themes of the event were fostering sustainable food systems, enhancing food value chains and trade, embracing innovation, new technologies and digital opportunities, and strengthening rural development.
Read more about the role of trade in regional food security in the Asia-Pacific
Other meetings attended during the week included the Policy Partnership on Food Security (PPFS), High Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology (HLPDAB) and the Agricultural Technical Cooperation Working Group (ATCWG).
Head of the Multilateral Agriculture Policy and Bilateral branch Matthew Worrell represented Australia at Food Security Week, and said that the event provided opportunities to enhance Australian agricultural trade.
‘We were able to contribute to regional dialogue and cooperation on policies to improve food security, and to engage with our key trading partners across the Asia-Pacific,’ Mr Worrell said.
‘We advocated for open and transparent food markets by highlighting our work on non-tariff measures affecting grain and dairy trade in the Asia-Pacific.
‘I also highlighted how our aid program assists the inclusion of poorer producers across the Asia-Pacific region in global food value chains.
‘For example, Australia supports the Grow Asia initiative, which brings together agribusinesses, farmers and civil society to promote the sourcing of produce from smallholder farmers.’
‘Involving small-scale producers in global food markets boosts employment and economic growth, and contributes to food security in the region,’ Mr Worrell said.
The week culminated in the 5th APEC Food Security Ministerial Meeting where the Puerto Varas Declaration on Food Security was adopted by all economies in attendance.
In addition to engaging in food security issues through APEC, Australia engages with other multilateral forums including the G20, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
‘We use these forums to get the latest advice on agriculture policy globally, and to encourage other countries to adopt appropriate agricultural and trade policies for global food security,’ Mr Worrell said.
‘We also participate in initiatives such as the Agricultural Market Information System to share information about food markets, and to better coordinate responses in the event of abnormal market conditions that might impact on food security.’
Such measures make an important contribution towards Australia’s obligations under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular Sustainable Development Goal 2—Zero Hunger.
Engaging partner economies on food security is just one of many obligations Australia has internationally. Find out more about Australia’s international strategy.
Jo Grainger will join our network of Agriculture Counsellors overseas.
Jo Grainger will commence as the Minister Counsellor (Agriculture) in Brussels, Belgium, in January 2020.
Jo said she is honoured and excited to represent the Australian agriculture portfolio.
‘I am looking forward to the opportunity to support Australia’s trade to this important market and contributing to the Aus-EU Free Trade Agreement negotiations,’ Ms Grainger said.
‘My priority will be to keep up the good work already done in Brussels by our current Minister Counsellor Nicola Hinder and Counsellor Kieran MacDonald—focusing on maintaining and building relationships, supporting FTA negotiations, and maintaining and improving market access.
Read more about new agriculture counsellor Jo Grainger
‘Our relationships there are crucial, as the EU is Australia’s sixth largest export market for agricultural products. Our exports to the EU were valued at over $2.3 billion in 2018-19.’
Jo joined our department in February 2016 after 11 years working at the Department of Communications.
Since joining the department, Jo has worked on agricultural policy, regulatory and trade issues for horticulture, grains, cotton, sugar, wool, dairy and wine.
Jo has also worked on cross cutting issues including workforce, competition, infrastructure and food regulation, most recently leading the development of a mandatory code of conduct for the dairy industry.
‘All of my work in the department has involved extensive stakeholder engagement and negotiation, which will be critical preparation for dealing with the many stakeholders in the EU,’ Ms Grainger said.
Jo joins our important overseas network—find out more.
India represents a key opportunity for Australian agricultural trade and investment into the future.
In recent years Australia has placed an increased focus on improving our trade and investment relationship with India.
The Department of Agriculture’s head of bilateral engagement Jodie McAlister said that with the largest concentration of people on earth, South Asia—particularly India—is too big to ignore.
‘India’s demand for food will outpace its domestic supply out to 2035. We have the opportunity to provide our food and fibre to billions, and we need to work now to be ready to take those opportunities in the future,’ Ms McAlister said.
‘In the last year we have placed a second agriculture counsellor in India who will promote our agricultural interests, engage with Indian states, and help improve and maintain market access.
Read more about agricultural trade and investment in India
‘We are investing time and money to make a solid bilateral government-to-government relationship, including providing biosecurity training to Indian officials to develop capacity and support agricultural trade of goods to and from India.’
This has been in line with the recommendations of An India Economic Strategy to 2035: Navigating from Potential to Delivery which was released by the Government in 2018.
The Strategy outlines Agribusiness as one of four leading sectors for Australian trade and investment in India, and the Government has named Minister for Agriculture Bridget McKenzie as the Ministerial Champion for Agribusiness.
‘The Minister has emphasised her commitment to collaborating with Australian industry to build trade engagement with India,’ Ms McAlister said.
‘In November she hosted a roundtable with agribusiness representatives to discuss opportunities and barriers for trade and investment in India.
‘India has a huge and growing middle-income consumer base, with interests in niche and high value goods. Many Australian agricultural products complement Indian production, and focusing on how to fill the needs of this market will help to diversify our export base.
‘We’re putting in the groundwork now for our agricultural industries to thrive on the opportunities that the Indian market presents.’
Learn more about An India Economic Strategy to 2035.
The app will make it easier to access details such as certificate numbers, product, exporter, consignee, departure date and current certificate status.
Dairy exporters will soon be able to find export information at their fingertips thanks to a new app that can scan QR codes on export certification.
The Certificate Scanner app, which will be available on app stores for Android and iPhone, will let exporters point their phone camera at export certificates to get easy access to details including certificate number, product, exporter, consignee, departure date and current certificate status.
Barbara Cooper, who has been overseeing the department’s Enhanced Traceability Project, said that the app forms part of our commitment to deliver regulatory functions in the most effective and efficient way possible.
‘We’re actively looking for new methods and technologies that will make it easier for exporters to do business with us,’ Ms Cooper said.
Read more about certificate scanner app adds ease to exporting
‘Users of the app will be able to identify whether a certificate is valid, or has been replaced or cancelled, all without having to sit down at a computer.
‘This capability will provide added assurance around the authenticity of export documentation arriving overseas.’
Additionally, dairy will be implemented in the Next Export Documentation System (NEXDOC) in 2020.
‘NEXDOC is another way we’re making working with us as easy as possible for exporters,’ Ms Cooper said.
‘NEXDOC allows clients to request export documentation more easily, thanks to interactive workflow processes, reduced data duplication, and better visibility across the regulatory export supply chain.’
Find out more about NEXDOC’s benefits and updates on the transition to the new system.
You can also email the Enhanced Traceability Project team.
Agriculture Counsellor in Kuala Lumpur Enrico Perotti (second from left), participated as a mentor for the new Malaysian-Australian Business Council (MABC) Mentoring Programme.
From May to September, the Agriculture Counsellor in Kuala Lumpur Enrico Perotti participated in the Malaysia Australia Business Council (MABC) Mentoring Programme.
The program, which targets female MABC members in middle management roles, aims to attract and retain women in the workforce. Mentees are matched with a mentor based on common goals, interests and professions.
All mentees said the program met their expectations, and cited that they valued the knowledge sharing, valuable inputs and guidance, different perspectives, assistance with important decisions, networking and the opportunity to learn from a leader.
Mr Perotti spoke of the benefits the program also brought to the relationship between the two countries.
‘By sharing knowledge and developing contacts through programs like this, we are helping the healthy relationship and goodwill between the Australian and Malaysian business communities thrive,’ Mr Perotti said.
MABC was established in 1986 and provides a range of services relating to businesses in Malaysia and Australia. Find out more about the program.
Left to right: Australian Office in Taipei (AO) Director (Agriculture) Emma Hatcher; DFAT Deputy Secretary Richard Maude; AO Representative Gary Cowan; Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) Representative Elliot Charng; Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung; Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua; Taiwan Food and Drug Administration Director-General Wu Shou mei.
A new memorandum of understanding (MoU) on food safety between Australia and Taiwan was signed on 29 October 2019 in Taipei, as part of the Bilateral Economic Consultations meeting.
The MoU builds on an existing food and safety agreement and provides a framework through which Australia and Taiwan will exchange information and cooperate on food safety matters.
Head of the Strategic Trade Policy and North Asia branch Amy Fox said that the MoU will help protect the strong economic relationship we have with Taiwan.
‘Two-way trade in agriculture and food products between ourselves and Taiwan totalled $1.2 billion in 2018,’ Ms Fox said.
‘We share a commitment with Taiwan to trade in safe products that meet regulatory requirements.’
The MoU covers cooperation and information exchange on issues such as residue control of pesticides and veterinary drugs, contaminants and food additives, border inspections and post-market surveillance.
Read more about food safety the focus of bilateral agreement with Taiwan
‘The new MoU will provide the opportunity for international risk assessment programs, secondments and food safety discussions of mutual interest,’ Ms Fox said.
‘In the past, we’ve shared information with Taiwan about Genetically Modified Organism legislation in Australia under the auspices of the previous MoU.’
‘We look forward to engaging with Taiwan under this new MoU as food safety is an important part of our relationship.’
The MoU was signed by Representative Gary Cowan of the Australian Office in Taipei and Representative Elliot Charng of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Australia.
The October meeting was one of the annual Bilateral Economic Consultations with Taiwan. Find out more about Australia's relationship with Taiwan.
Photo by Kerry Trapnell.
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MICoR – Manual of Importing Country Requirements
MICoR allows you to find out about, and keep up to date on, the importing requirement of your key export markets.
The Australian Government FTA Portal provides a comprehensive tariff finder, with information on rules of origin and market snapshots for your searched products.
ePing – Electronic Export Alert
ePing provides notifications on changes of your export markets' sanitary and phytosanity (e.g. biosecurity and food safety) or technical barriers to trade (e.g. labelling) measures. Let Australia's contact point know if you have concerns on another country's measure.
BICON – Australian Biosecurity Import Conditions database
BICON helps to determine if conditions exist for your imports and if a permit is required. The database houses information for more than 20,000 plants, animals, minerals and biological products.