Agricultural Trade Matters, February 2017

​​​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 the current edition, published February 2017.

To receive an email notification when future editions are made available, subscribe to Agricultural Trade Matters.


Do you have ideas about how Australia’s foreign policy could be improved?

With around two-thirds of total agricultural production exported around the world, Australia’s foreign policy is an important factor in the continuing success of our agricultural sector.

To ensure we have an effective foreign policy that represents and advances the interests of all Australians – including agricultural stakeholders – the Australian Government is now calling for public submissions as it prepares a new Foreign Policy White Paper, the first since 2003.

The White Paper will provide a roadmap for advancing and protecting Australia’s international interests and define how we engage with the world in the years ahead.

Public submissions are being accepted until Tuesday 28 February 2017. Find out more at Foreign Policy White Paper or email your submission directly to White Paper.

Women in Export Scholarship 2017

The Australian Export Awards is proud to support women in export.

Austrade in partnership with Chief Executive Women (CEW) has introduced a Women in Export Scholarship which will award a female leader in an internationally-focussed role with the opportunity to attend Harvard Business School’s Disruptive Innovation – Strategies for a Successful Enterprise course in July 2017.

The course will be delivered in Boston, Massachusetts on 10-15 July 2017 and will provide practical tools and frameworks for building business capabilities that can succeed across business cycles and waves of competition.

The scholarship will cover course fees, airfares and on-campus accommodation.

Applications close on 19 March 2017. 

For more information visit the Australian Export Awards website.

Exploring the potential for camel exports to the Gulf States

Ngaanyatjarra Council (Aboriginal Corporation) has received a grant of $126,500 to send a group of Australian camel industry representatives to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates to promote the export of Australian live breeder camels and camel genetics to the Middle East under the Agricultural Trade and Market Access Cooperation programme (ATMAC).

Activities supported under the grant include delivering a workshop on the potential of the camel herd on the Aboriginal Lands in Central Australia to provide genetics to improve the overall health and wellbeing of the Gulf States camel herd. A delegation led by the Council will meet with key importers and investors in the Gulf States camel industry.

Read more about potential for camel exports…

The project will facilitate the export of camel genetics, and breeding animals to the Gulf States.  The Ngaanyatjarra Camel Company works with land holders on the Ngaanyatjarra lands and Pitjantjatjara lands to muster and sell camels from the region’s camel herd.

The Council has mustered and sold some 25,000 camels. So far most of these camels have been sold as meat for export. However since attending the International Camel Conference in 2015 they have begun to access the higher value genetic improvement market.

A team including industry leaders, a world leading Camel gut microbiologist (and editor of the Journal of Camelid Science) from University of Queensland, and a camel handling specialist will meet with potential clients in the Gulf States and hold a seminar to demonstrate the benefits of the disease free Australian camel stock and investigate supply chain issues.

The Ngaanyatjarra Lands have had a long association with camels. Local Aboriginal people travelled by camel in the 1940’s-60’s in the period between doing everything by foot and when the first motor vehicles and roads became available. With increasing mechanisation, the camels were released and since that time, the camels have roamed free in the lands and the population is estimated to exceed 200,000 in the region.

ATMAC grants support cooperation projects that address regional biosecurity risks, influence regional and international policymaking, and help Australia’s agriculture sector to realise export opportunities. Successful projects can result in real gains in access, providing additional returns to Australian farmers and food producers.

The ATMAC programme has been established under the accessing premium markets initiative of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.

The programme objective is to open, improve and/or maintain access to overseas markets for Australian agricultural products by building stronger relationships with trading partners, neighbouring countries and international organisations. More information about the ATMAC programme is available on the department website.

Export regulation review – calling all farmers and exporters

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is encouraging farmers and exporters to assist with improving export legislation in order to create a more modern, flexible and effective legislative framework.

The department continues to develop improvements to Australia’s export legislation. In line with a review held in 2015, these improvements are intended to help farmers, producers and exporters seize new export opportunities.

A draft of the legislation is expected to be released for public comment in 2017. Leading up to this, the department will also publish a range of fact sheets and other material about key changes and improvements.

The department will provide updates via regular industry and government forums, and will produce further consultation material to support the release of draft legislation in 2017.

If you are involved in the agricultural export process and wish to hear more about what we’re doing, we encourage you to register your interest via the department’s website.

Our consultation process will include ongoing engagement with international trading partners to ensure any changes are understood and there is no effect on market access.

The improved legislation will be implemented well before 1 April 2020, when the existing framework is due to expire. This will give stakeholders sufficient time to prepare for and implement the improvements.

Go to the department’s website for more information and to register your interest in participating in developing improvements to our export framework.

Indonesia-Australia Working Group on Agriculture, Food and Forestry Cooperation

Demonstrating the long standing relationship between Indonesia and Australia in agriculture, the 20th annual meeting of the Working Group on Agriculture, Food and Forestry Cooperation (Working Group) was held in Manado, Indonesia from 2-3 November 2016.

The meeting was hosted by the Indonesian Government which included a plenary session and separate task force sessions for Crops and Plant Products, Livestock and Animal Products, and Forestry.

Participation included Indonesian delegates from the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Australian delegates from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, the Australian Embassy in Jakarta and observers from the Victorian Government.


Read more about the Indonesia-Australia Working Group on Agriculture, Food and Forestry Cooperation…

Progress was made on a number of issues, including:

  • Indonesia’s agreement to consider revising the Country Recognition Agreement (CRA) of Australian Fresh Food of Plant Origin Safety Control Systems.
  • Confirmation of an interim measure to allow the export of seed potato from South Australia and Victoria, while Indonesia finalises its regulation.
  • Confirmation of Indonesia’s preferred treatment measures to allow mango exports to Australia.
  • Indonesia’s confirmation to conduct a site review of three Australian rendering establishments.
  • Agreement for Indonesia to audit six Australian meat establishments before the end of 2016.
  • Agreement to progress the development of the Memorandum of Understanding on promoting sustainable forest management and the trade of legal timber products.

Arising from the meeting, the Australian Government will fund a cooperation project with Indonesia on laboratory twinning for residue testing in meat.

The meeting was a valuable opportunity to enter into dialogue on key policy matters of interest to both countries. Indonesia provided a presentation on their new halal regulations and planned implementation, as well as its new live cattle import regulation. Australia provided an update on its Export Regulation Review, biosecurity cooperation programs, and the Australia Awards study opportunities.

The Working Group will convene its 21st meeting in Australia In late 2017. It remains an important forum for government officials from both countries to resolve technical agricultural trade matters and to exchange information to better facilitate trade in the important and mutually beneficial agricultural relationship.

Food security issues progressed with Indonesia

Cattle grazing on the roadside behind a single-wire electric fence

Good progress continues to be made between Australia and Indonesia on issues of food security.

The most recent meeting of the Indonesia–Australia Partnership on Food Security in the Red Meat and Cattle Sector last November brought together Indonesian and Australian government and industry members, as well as leaders from a number of projects that the partnership is funding.

Members of the partnership are drawn from Indonesian and Australian national government agencies, as well as prominent members from across the red meat and cattle sectors and business and investment community. Non-government members from Australia and Indonesia bring a wealth of experience in areas such as cattle processing and livestock production, livestock export, breeding, and broader business and investment expertise.

The partnership is a joint agreement between heads of government and is underpinned by a $60 million fund provided by the Australian Government over ten years to 2024. More than $16.5 million has been contributed by the partnership to-date, funding programmes on priority development areas such as breeding, transport and logistics, processing and skills development in the red meat and cattle sector.

Read more about the Partnership…

The meeting in Perth on 16-17 November was the fifth held under the partnership since it was established as a bilateral initiative in 2013. The most recent gathering heard about the partnership’s achievements in facilitating close relations between industry and government, the role it plays to promote two-way investment and work towards developing a competitive, efficient and sustainable red meat and cattle sector.

The November meeting held two policy dialogue sessions on agricultural financing and global supply chains and their impact on price sensitivity. Information was presented during these session about global trends which may affect the Indonesia-Australia cattle and beef trade, and options available to reduce the price of beef in Indonesia.

Partnership members were also updated about the joint Indonesia-Australia long term vision for the red meat and cattle industry and the Indonesian and Australian industries’ proposal to develop a Joint Industry Strategy, which will be developed and tabled at the at the sixth Partnership meeting (May 2017).

The meeting also reviewed progress of the $9 million Indonesia-Australia Commercial Cattle Breeding Programme (IACCB) which is piloting different commercially-focused breeding models with private sector partners and smallholder cooperative groups to assess economically sustainable cattle breeding models. Three pilots have been established, with up to a further five pilots to be established by mid-2017.

A new Partnership newsletter was launched at the November meeting. This newsletter will be a biannual publication which will highlight the work of the partnership, allow stakeholders to gain a greater understanding of projects that the Partnership is funding and how they are benefitting the Indonesia-Australia red meat and cattle sector.

View the communique from the fifth meeting.

Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement

The Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) will create the framework for a new era of closer economic engagement between Indonesia and Australia and open new markets and opportunities for Australian businesses, primary producers and service providers.

The fifth round of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) negotiations was hosted by Indonesia in Bandung, from 31 October to 4 November 2016. This was the third round of negotiations to be held since IA-CEPA’s reactivation by Ministers in March 2016.

Over 120 delegates attended the negotiations. The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources participated in the negotiations, led by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The negotiations also included representatives of the Departments of Industry, Innovation and Science, Immigration and Border Protection, and Education and Training.

Read more about the partnership agreement…

The Indonesian delegation was led by the Ministry of Trade and included representatives from a number of Ministries and Agencies including Agriculture, Finance, Industry, Communication and Labour, Standards, Tourism, Health, Foreign Affairs and Development.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources participated in negotiations on goods, services, investment, economic cooperation, and institutional and framework provisions. Sessions were also held on Technical Barriers to Trade, Sanitary and Phytosanitary issues, customs procedures and trade facilitation, Rules of Origin, Financial Services, Telecommunications, E-Commerce and Competition Policy. The sixth round of negotiations is scheduled to take place in Australia early in 2017.

Submissions from stakeholders on all aspects of trade with Indonesia in order to inform the IA-CEPA negotiating agenda are welcome.

In particular, information is sought on specific interests and issues in relation to Australia’s trade, investment and economic cooperation with Indonesia. We would also welcome information on barriers to trade and investment faced by Australian goods and services exporters and investors in Indonesia, as well as experiences with economic cooperation activities.

Submissions can be made through the DFAT website

New market access for Aussie nectarines to China

Minister Luke Hartsuyker together with John Moore, CEO Summerfruit Australia, welcoming the first shipment of Australian nectarines to China

The benefits of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) for Australian exporters continue to grow with the first shipments of Australian nectarines to China arriving recently to great fanfare.

Minister Assisting the Deputy Prime Minister, Luke Hartsuyker, was on hand at the iFresh China International Fruit and Vegetable Expo in Shanghai on 15 November 2016 to officially welcome the shipments.

Minister Hartsuyker said the visit represented an invaluable opportunity to build on the growing success of the Australia—China trading partnership.

"Here at iFresh there are some great examples of the premium horticultural products our farmers are exporting to China on the back of Australian Government's China–Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA)," Minister Hartsuyker said.

"Chinese consumers are already developing a growing taste for Australian oranges, mandarins, table grapes and cherries. I'm very pleased to add Australian nectarines to that growing list.”

Achieving market access for nectarines provides Australian exporters with another valuable export opportunity. The nectarines protocol was signed between Australian and Chinese governments in June 2016. The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is now actively seeking to extend access to other summerfruit varieties (in particular peaches and plums), and to extend the improved conditions agreed to other existing protocols in order to further improve our horticultural export access to China.

On 1 January 2017 the ChAFTA tariff for nectarines dropped to four per cent from the previous six per cent.

Assistant Minister Hartsuyker visits China to strengthen agricultural ties

Minister Hartsuyker signing the Statement of Intent with the Acting SAG Administrator

Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Luke Hartsuyker, recently visited the People’s Republic of China from 11 to 16 November to attend the 4th Food Security and Food Security Summit in Beijing on behalf of Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce. Minister Hartsuyker also participated in a series of bilateral trade meetings and met with senior Chinese government officials on agricultural trade matters.

Following the Summit, Minister Hartsuyker said that improving global food security and food safety requires close and cooperative relationships, with an emphasis on open dialogue, knowledge sharing and the application of innovative technologies.

In another boost for Australia’s agricultural relationship with China, Minister Hartsuyker and China’s Acting Administrator of the State Administration of Grains (SAG) signed a Statement of Intent to further develop collaboration in the grains sector.

“The Statement of Intent will support the development of a Memorandum of Understanding in areas of mutual interest, including grain science technology, quality testing and policy and structural adjustment in the grain sector—areas both nations are keenly interested in,” Minister Hartsuyker said.

Read more about Assistant Minister Hartsuyker visiting China…

This will help advance Australia and China’s joint interests in the development of strong grains sectors in both our countries.

Minister Hartsuyker said the visit also presented an opportunity to reflect on the success of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), which entered into force in December 2015.

"China has become the world's second largest importer of agriculture, food and fishery products, worth almost US$120 billion in 2014," Minister Hartsuyker said.

"China has also become Australia's biggest market for agricultural products, with exports of around AUD$11.1 billion in 2015.”

Minister Hartsuyker said agreements like ChAFTA will help Australian producers build on this success and drive better returns for Australian farmers and producers.

"Australia and China boast strong agriculture sectors with the potential to make significant contributions to food security not only in our own nations, but across our region and around the world."

ACACA missions over the last quarter

There have been three recent cooperative exchange visits between Australia and China under the ongoing Australia-China Agricultural Cooperation Agreement (ACACA) program.

An ACACA delegation of Chinese government officials and industry stakeholders led by China’s Ministry of Agriculture’s Bureau of Produce Processing visited Australia from 17 to 28 September 2016. The delegation met with department officials in Canberra on 19 September and held meetings with the CSIRO, peak industry bodies, academic institutions and industry in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

Following on from that visit, a delegation from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) travelled to China from 11 October to November 5 to film and undertake interviews for a media series entitled "Window on China: How Australian producers can make the most of opportunities in China.” The first broadcast of this series was a National Country Hour radio special on Thursday, 24 November 2016, with a repeat on 21 January 2017. This was followed by a ninety minute "Window on China" ABC Landline programme on Sunday, 5 February 2017.

The department also hosted a delegation led by China’s Ministry of Agriculture Veterinary Bureau. The focus of this delegation was on Australia’s technology used in biosafety risk prevention and control in animal health. In Australia from 4-10 December, the delegation visited Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney to meet with the department, CSIRO, peak industry bodies, academic institutions and industry representatives.

Visits from Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and State Administration of Grain

Deputy Secretary David Parker with Vice-Minister Zhang Taolin after their meeting at the department in Canberra

Two Chinese delegations visited Australian shores in September 2016.

Ministry of Agriculture Vice-Minister Zhang Taolin led a delegation to Australia from 21–25 September 2016. Vice-Minister Zhang’s visit focussed on promoting bilateral investment and cooperation in agriculture, with a particular focus on innovative agricultural sciences in horticulture, seafood and livestock production.

Vice-Minister Zhang attended a meeting at the department on 22 September 2016, chaired by Deputy Secretary David Parker. Vice-Minister Zhang attended industry site visits at a horticulture production and packing facility, a Marine Stewardship Council certified seafood producer in Western Australia, the Queensland agriculture and food research institute and the Steritech irradiation facility in Queensland. He also travelled met with the Western Australian and Queensland government officials.

Administrator Ren Zhengxiao of China’s State Administration of Grain (SAG) led a second delegation to Australia from 20–25 September 2016. Administrator Ren met with Assistant Minister Hartsuyker on the morning of 20 September 2016. The following day, Administrator Ren attended a meeting with the department, along with hosting an industry roundtable, in Canberra. The meeting and roundtable were chaired by Deputy Secretary David Parker.


Administrator Ren meeting with Deputy Secretary David Parker and industry representatives at the department in Canberra

As a part of his visit, Administrator Ren officially opened the Australia-China Joint Centre for Postharvest Grain Biosecurity and Quality Research (the Joint Centre), Murdoch University, Perth on 22 September. The Joint Centre is a partnership between the Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre, Murdoch University and the State Administration of Grain that has a focus on developing non-chemical controls to manage biosecurity and quality issues in grain.

Fifth Australia-Japan High Level Dialogue and Animal Health Technical Discussions in Japan

Secretary Daryl Quinlivan, Vice-Minister Matsushima and the Australian and Japanese delegations to the 5th High Level Dialogue

Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Mr Daryl Quinlivan, led a delegation to Iwaki, Japan on 25 October 2016 and co-chaired the 5th Australia-Japan High Level Agricultural Dialogue with Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Vice Minister for International Affairs, Mr Hiromichi Matsushima.

Japan is Australia’s third largest market for agricultural, fisheries and forestry products, with $5 billion worth of agriculture export trade in 2015. Japan is a particularly strong market for our beef, seafood, dairy, wheat and barley for feed, wine and horticultural produce exports.

Discussions were positive and covered a range of issues, including agricultural policy developments in both countries, particularly current Japanese reforms, continued implementation of the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement, opportunities for further bilateral and multilateral cooperation and key market access outcomes.

Both countries restated their commitment to progress respective market access requests. For Japan, these are fresh beef and strawberries; for Australia avocadoes and mainland blueberries, along with recognition of regionalisation of Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza.

Read more about Fifth Australia-Japan High Level Dialogue and Animal Health Technical Discussions in Japan…

During his visit, Secretary Quinlivan also inspected a wagyu beef production system, and viewed reconstruction efforts in the agriculture and fisheries sectors in Fukushima prefecture which were affected by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident.

The 6th Australia-Japan High Level Agricultural Dialogue will be held in Australia in 2017.

Further progress on animal export issues was also made in the Animal Health Technical Discussions.

Held back-to-back with the Australia-Japan High Level Agricultural Dialogue, the discussions were co-chaired by Dr Andrew Cupit from the department’s Animal Division, on 27-28 October in Tokyo.

The main purpose of the meeting was to negotiate revisions to the Animal Health Requirements for export of live cattle now that Japan has re-opened the trade, and to progress other animal health and technical market access issues relevant to our trade with Japan animal products and live animals.

Accolades for the most valuable horticultural export

Assistant Secretary Paul Ross with Jane and Brenton Woolston, Almondco

Almondco Australia Ltd has won the Regional Exporter award “for outstanding international success by a business whose head office is based in a non-metropolitan location” at the 54th Australian Export Awards.

Co-presented by Austrade, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and CPA Australia, the Australian Export Awards are one of country’s most prestigious and longest-running business awards. The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources sponsors the Regional Exporter Award category and Assistant Secretary Paul Ross attended to present the award to Almondco.

In what was considered a prestigious field, seven of the eight finalists in the Regional Exporter award represented agricultural exports.

Almondco Australia was established as a South Australian grower’s cooperative in 1944 and now provides processing and marketing services for more than 85 per cent of almond growers in Australia. The cooperative exports to over 35 countries and in 2015–16 sold 9,700 tonnes of almond products to Asia, UK, NZ, Europe, the Middle East and the US, thanks to a growing global awareness of the health benefits of almonds. These exports made up 47 per cent of Almondco’s $260 million total revenue. The record sales helped make almonds Australia’s most valuable horticultural export for the 2015 calendar year.

Read more about almond exports to premium markets…

In 2015-16, Australia’s 152 almond farmers exported approximately 61,000 tonnes of almonds worth $616 million dollars, representing growth of 18 per cent on the previous year.  Even though India remains the largest export destination for Australian almonds, with total exports exceeding $118 million or 18 per cent of the market share, the Free Trade Agreements with Japan, Korea and China have enabled Australia to quickly access these developing markets.  According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, export of unprocessed Australian almonds to China, Japan and Korea in 2015-16 was approximately 955 tonnes, representing a 202 per cent growth in sales to these markets from the previous year.

The majority of almond consumption in India occurs as part of traditional festivals.  The markets in North Asia are more diversified.  In Japan, many products that have been based on soy (tofu and milk) are now being made with almonds instead.  China enjoys Australian almonds roasted as a snack food and Korea has responded to promotion of the health benefits eating whole almonds and using almonds in bakery products.

While the rest of the world seems to love Australian almonds, domestic sales have also increased 38 per cent over the past five years with over 23,000 tonnes sold locally.



Austrade coordinates events and exhibitions, like AWIC, around the world, to support the promotion of Australian food and agriculture. Find out about events in your export markets through Austrade's event search.

  1. ABARES Outlook 2017 conference is the leading forum in Australia for public and private sector decision makers to discuss the key domestic and global issues for Australia’s agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors.  Outlook 2017 will be held from 7 – 8 March, 2017 in Canberra. Registration for the 2017 Conference
  2. Taste of Australia - Professional Tasting Tokyo and Osaka. Austrade invites Australian exporters and/or their Japanese importers to participate in this premium food and beverage showcase, targeting key customers and influencers in Japan’s high-end Retail and Foodservice market supply channels.

    This is an invitation-only event held in the beautiful garden surrounds of the Australian Embassy (Tokyo), and for the first time in Osaka at The Garden Oriental (Osaka is the hub of Kansai Region – Japan’s second largest commercial centre). Tastings will be held in Tokyo on 16 May and Osaka on 18 May. Expressions of interest close 28 February 2017.  
  3. Food and Hotel Indonesia (FHI) is one of the country’s largest food and beverage trade events held biannually in Jakarta, and attracted over 3,000 visitors, incorporating 1,600 exhibiting companies from 47 countries in 2015. FHI provides an opportunity for Victorian companies to meet with potential buyers, build trade relationships and gain market feedback for products. The State Government of Victoria is seeking expressions of interest from Victorian food and beverage organisations interested in participating in a Trade Mission to FHI. Indonesia is a very important growth market for Victorian food and fibre exports, which in 2014-15 were valued at $525 million. Food and Hotel Indonesia will be held from 5 – 8 April 2017 in Jakarta. 

Last reviewed: 18 August 2021
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