Agricultural Trade Matters, June 2018

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 June 2018.

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Visiting Vietnam

Departmental representatives meet with Vietnamese officials in Vietnam.

In February, representatives from the department’s Biosecurity Animal Division travelled to Vietnam to discuss Australia’s prawn import conditions and learn more about pre-border biosecurity systems.

Vietnam is the third country visited since June 2017, as part of the department’s familiarisation visits to Australia’s major prawn trading partners.

The officers had technical discussions with representatives from the Vietnamese Government’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. They also gave a presentation on Australia’s enhanced import conditions and met with prawn producers and processors.

Acting Assistant Secretary of the department’s Animal Biosecurity branch, Dr Carol Sheridan, supports the familiarisation visits.


Read more about visiting Vietnam

“These visits promote links with technical counterparts and decision makers responsible for managing prawn production and export certification. They also strengthen our understanding of the biosecurity checks in place, before prawns make it to our border,” said Dr Sheridan.

“The insights will also contribute to the department’s review of biosecurity risks and import conditions for prawns and prawn products for human consumption that was announced in May (SPS notification G/SPS/N/AUS/422).

“Working closely with our trading partners allows us to explain our stringent biosecurity requirements, including the need for them to be our partners in managing biosecurity risk offshore.”

Talks covered Vietnam’s requests for improved market access, through recognition of equivalent risk management measures. Officers conveyed the department’s commitment to working with Vietnam on these requests, noting that the department is currently undertaking a review into the importation of prawns and prawn products for human consumption.

At the closing meeting, the officers expressed thanks for Vietnam’s cooperation and commended the strong biosecurity controls that they saw during the visit.

Vietnam’s commitment to growing the prawn industry in coming years was evident. There was a clear understanding that strong biosecurity systems are necessary to meet domestic targets and to improve export market access—including to Australia.

Learn more about the review of prawns and prawn products.

Nothing to wine about! Japan and Australia's agricultural relationship is closer than ever

Representatives from Japan and Australia’s agriculture departments meet for the sixth Australia-Japan High Level Agricultural Dialogue (HLD).

Representatives from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) recently met in Adelaide, South Australia, for the sixth Australia-Japan High Level Agricultural Dialogue (HLD). Officials from Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA) also participated.

The HLD was an opportunity to share policy ideas and further develop the strong relationship we have with Japan— one of our most important trading partners.

Discussions covered a range of topics including agricultural trade and market access and ideas sharing about agricultural labour, succession planning and female participation in the sector. Both countries expressed the importance of encouraging young workers and female participation in agricultural industries.

A visit to regional South Australia provided an opportunity to promote our world-class wine industry and showcase our innovative farming practices at Perfection, Two Wells.


Read more about Japan and Australia's agricultural relationship is closer than ever

Perfection, Two Wells, a producer and supplier of fruit and vegetables, is a great example of Australian innovation in the agricultural sector. Their glasshouse, which produces tomatoes, spans some 35 hectares and is the biggest in Australia.

A tour of Yalumba, a fifth generation family owned winery, also provided an opportunity to showcase the superior quality of Australian wine to the Japanese delegation, highlighting the potential to further grow exports to international markets.

Meetings and visits such as this allow us to share our agricultural experiences, share Australia’s agricultural smarts and build trusted relationships to promote Australian agriculture to the world.

The department appreciates the involvement of PIRSA in the meeting, and thanks Perfection and Yalumba for facilitating the valuable field visits.

Protecting Australia-Japan sheep meat trade – commenting on SPS notifications

Japanese authorities agree to requirements allowing Australia’s sheep meat trade to continue.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ National Residue Survey (NRS) team has made a submission to the WTO to avoid losing our sheep meat trade with Japan.

In April last year, Japan reviewed the existing maximum residue level (MRL) for abamectin, an insecticide that is used widely in many agricultural industries in Australia.

Japan proposed to lower the MRL for abamectin for a number of commodities including sheep products, where it proposed to lower the MRL to zero. This information was given to World Trade Organization (WTO) members as a WTO Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) notification (G/SPS/N/JPN/506).

The NRS team, which monitors residues of agricultural and veterinary chemicals in commodities, identified the proposed MRL as a potential concern for the Australian sheep industry. Australia uses this chemical, and has substantial trade in sheep meat with Japan.


Read more about protecting Australia-Japan sheep meat trade

From 2011 to 2017, Australia exported 87.5 million kilograms of sheep meat to Japan at a total value of AUD $708.6 million (Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Catalogue 5465.0).

A submission was developed that requested Japan reconsider its proposed reduction of the MRL for abamectin, taking into account data provided by the Australia Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).

In March 2018 Japanese authorities advised that, after considering the information provided and the end use of the commodity, they had agreed to set a higher MRL for abamectin which would allow Australia’s trade to continue uninterrupted while still achieving Japan’s requirements.

Sign up for SPS and TBT notifications.

Changes in importing country requirements impact Australian exporters. Contact the department if you have any comments regarding proposed changes.

Sign up to the e-Ping notification system.

Building a stable and prosperous world

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) form a roadmap for global development efforts to 2030 and beyond.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is partnering with other government agencies, businesses and civil society, together with the United Nations, to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The goals form part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and outline social, economic and environmental targets to improve the lives of people everywhere.

The department of Agriculture and Water Resources is the lead agency for two of the 17 goals—SDG 2 —Zero Hunger; and SDG 6 —Clean water and sanitation.

The goals feed into many policies and programs, and as a department we’re investing in the future to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and to promote sustainable agriculture. We’re also working to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.


Read more about building a stable and prosperous world

The department also has interests in:

  • SDG 12 — Responsible consumption and production
  • SDG 13 — Climate action
  • SDG 14 — Life below water
  • SDG 15 — Life on land
  • SDG 17 — Partnerships for the goals

Across the globe governments, businesses and civil society, together with the United Nations, are mobilising efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Agenda by 2030.

The 2030 Agenda for sustainable development is a whole of government commitment. Australia will launch its first Voluntary National Review on how Australia gives effect to the SDGs, in June.

The Australian Government is committed to building a stable and prosperous world through the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, both at home and abroad.

For more information on the Sustainable Development Goals, visit the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.

Australia and Vietnam are marking 45 years of diplomatic relations in 2018

Australia and Vietnam bilateral agriculture trade was worth $2.8 billion in 2016/17.

This year the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is celebrating 45 years of diplomatic relations with one of our closest trading partners, Vietnam.

In those 45 years, this bilateral partnership has moved from strength to strength.

Since 1993, Australia (through the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)) has collaborated with Vietnam on 170 agriculture projects worth $100 million. Projects have ranged from livestock production to policy development, food safety, fisheries and forestry.


Read more about Australia and Vietnam are marking 45 years of diplomatic relations in 2018

Multiple achievements with Vietnam have been highlighted in the past few months, including:

  • an agreement on trade conditions for fresh dragon fruit from Vietnam to Australia and cherries from Australia to Vietnam
  • signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Vietnam to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing
  • over 1,000 Australian and Vietnamese government scholarships awarded for studying agriculture and related fields in Australian universities
  • launching the Australia in Vietnam Agriculture Strategy
  • a Strategic Partnership signed by Prime Ministers' Turnbull and Phuc in Canberra.

Vietnam is an important market for a number of Australia’s agricultural commodities, with agricultural exports to Vietnam worth $2.8 billion in 2016-17.

Wheat, live cattle, barley and cotton from Australia are complemented by a growing range of seafood, nuts, timber products and tropical fruits from Vietnam.

The relationship brings huge benefits to both economies.

Both countries are signatories to the TPP-11, which incorporates a 25 year agricultural research partnership. Australia and Vietnam continue to work effectively towards horticulture market access priorities.

Growing agriculture into a $100 billion industry

The NFF report proposes ideas enabling the agricultural industry to reach its full potential.

The National Farmers' Federation (NFF) have released a blueprint for growing the Australian agricultural industry—Talking 2030: Growing agriculture into a $100 billion industry.

A range of experts have contributed to the report which proposes ideas enabling the agricultural industry to reach its full potential.

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud, welcomed the NFF report, calling it a bold vision for a bold industry.

"The trade deals we are putting in place in Asia and across the world will be a key driver to reaching this target—70 per cent of our agricultural production is already being exported,” said Minister Littleproud.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is committed to expanding agricultural, fisheries and forestry exports. The report will be key in achieving this ambitious objective.

Read the NFF report at

Winemakers benefit from record exports

The value of Australian wine exports are the highest in a decade.

Australian wine export values are the highest in a decade, increasing by 16 per cent to $2.65 billion in the year leading up to March, according to Wine Australia's latest Export Report.

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Anne Ruston, said the export numbers are a win for the wine industry.

"Regional Australia continues to benefit from higher exports − we're not going to get rich selling to ourselves," said Minister Ruston.

"Exports to China, including Hong Kong, are up 51 per cent over the year to March, and are now worth $1.04 billion annually.


Read more about winemakers benefit from record exports

It’s the first time the value of a single wine market has reached over one billion dollars.

"The government anticipates the value and volume of wine exports to China will only grow, as tariffs for Australian wine into China will be entirely removed from January 1 next year."

The Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package is also providing support to help wine sellers take advantage of new and emerging markets.

"The package supports a three-year plan to attract 40,000 more international tourists to Australia's wine regions, which will boost regional economies, increase export values and provide more jobs," said Minister Ruston.

Administered by Wine Australia, the package is helping to drive demand for Australia’s wine exports.

Learn more about the department’s work supporting the Australian wine industry.

Taking Australian agriculture to the world

Cathrine Stephenson attends the Nuffield Contemporary Scholars Conference in the Netherlands.

Agricultural specialist, Cathrine Stephenson, from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, plays a key role in advocating for Australia’s agricultural interests on an international stage.

Cathrine is Australia’s representative to both the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris.

Based in Rome, Cathrine represents Australia’s agriculture interests at policy and technical meetings at the FAO and OECD.

This role can be challenging. Other countries can have differing views about the best way of growing their agricultural sectors and improving productivity.

Read more about taking Australian agriculture to the world

While her role involves lots of meetings, occasionally there are opportunities to engage on agricultural issues in a different setting.

“Recently, I attended the Nuffield Contemporary Scholars Conference in the Netherlands, where I was invited to participate on a panel and speak about why the work of the FAO and OECD is relevant to producers,” said Ms Stephenson.

“I met a number of scholars and learnt a lot about robotics in the dairy sector, changing consumer demands and what they mean for producers, as well as different approaches to sustainability.”

Every year the conference brings together agricultural scholars, investors and stakeholders to explore issues affecting the industry internationally.

Highlighting just how globally connected we are, Cathrine came across some of the same scholars at the FAO when they took part in a study tour of Italy.

“Catching up with them was terrific. They are committed to improving how they do things and are keen to know how they can engage in policy making – both in Australia and globally. It was wonderful to see their passion for their businesses and sectors,” said Ms Stephenson.

Learn more about the department’s overseas network.


For coming trade and exhibition events, please go to the Austrade's event search.



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.


FTA Portal

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.

Last reviewed: 1 October 2020
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