Agricultural Trade Matters, November 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 November 2018.

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WTO members support agricultural innovation and trade

Precision biotechnology.

Innovation is a critical component underpinning Australia’s agricultural sector; improving the productivity, quality and sustainability of agricultural products. Making use of precision biotechnology is one important way to continue innovation within Australia’s agricultural sector, as well as address emerging challenges, including those arising from climate change and pressure on global food supplies. Advancements in precision biotechnologies, including gene technology, offer benefits for primary producers, the food manufacturing industry, consumers and the community.

Australia supported the International Statement on Agricultural Applications of Precision Biotechnology made by Argentina at the 73rd meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Committee on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures held on 2 November 2018. Australia was among 12 nations that expressed their support at the WTO Committee, including, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, and the United States of America.


Read more about WTO members support agricultural innovation and trade

David Porritt, Director of Trade Policy and Negotiations at the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, attended the WTO Committee and stated our support in his address. Mr Porritt said that developments in precision biotechnology provide benefits to farmers and consumers by improving crop yields, increasing resistance to diseases, pests and droughts, and decreased application of chemicals. He encouraged countries to assess products derived from precision biotechnology in line with their WTO obligations.

Future agricultural innovations will help farmers address global challenges and Australia is doing its part to promote these technologies.

Australia participates in multilateral efforts to promote the application of science-based, transparent and predictable regulatory approaches that foster innovation and ensure a safe and reliable global food supply, including the cultivation and use of agricultural products derived from innovative technologies.

The International Statement on Agricultural Applications of Precision Biotechnology can be viewed on the Department’s website.

NEXDOC is coming late 2018/2019

Different stages of NEXDOC implementation.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is transitioning export commodities from EXDOC to NEXDOC, making it easier for you to do business with us.

The date you will need to start using the new system will depend on what type of commodity you export.

Once transition is complete, NEXDOC will support all export commodities currently available in EXDOC as well as new commodities.

The department is continuously working to improve services for users, including how we deliver our online export services. Our upgraded export systems will be able to integrate with supporting systems and new technologies, making it easier for exporters and export establishments to get their goods to market.


Read more about NEXDOC is coming late 2018/2019

NEXDOC will improve product traceability by providing increased visibility across the export supply chain. We are doing this through: modernising existing internal support systems, automation of remaining manual processes, certification and documentation, introduction of interactive workflow processes, integration of data with other government agencies and industry systems where relevant.

Register with Agriculture Online Services now in preparation for NEXDOC. Check the website to see if it is open for your commodity.

The department will contact you prior to your commodity becoming available in NEXDOC to provide instructions on how to transition.

Find out more about NEXDOC.

Exporting to Korea? Check the MRLs for your products haven't changed

There have been recent changes to MRLs in Korea.

There have been recent changes to the way the Republic of Korea regulates Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs). Our exporters and export establishments need to be aware of, and comply with, these changes.

Korea has moved to a positive list system for MRLs, which means there is a uniform limit of 0.01ppm for all agricultural chemicals – unless otherwise specified. In implementing the positive list system, a large number of existing MRLs will be progressively deleted and set at the 0.01ppm default limit unless a specific MRL has been established through a scientific assessment conducted by the Korean Government.

Changes to MRLs in Korea are being implemented in phases. Exporters are encouraged to stay up to date with the MRL requirements for the products they export to Korea, and to other export markets, to avoid consignments being stopped at the border.


Read more about Exporting to Korea? Check the MRLs for your products haven’t changed

With a population of 52 million, Korea is Australia’s fifth largest export market for agricultural, food and fisheries products by value. Australia’s two-way trade relationship with Korea was worth nearly $3.9 billion in 2017.

The Department has been working with Australian industries and chemical companies to understand Korea’s positive list system process, and how to facilitate import tolerance applications.

In some cases, industry—including peak bodies and chemical manufacturers—have undertaken a process to request a higher residue limit for their commodity, though this does not guarantee that the application will be successful.

Changes have already been implemented for tropical fruit and tree nuts, changes for pesticides will come into effect on 1 January 2019 and veterinary medicines will be implemented in the future.

It is important Australian exporters and export establishments comply with all of the rules of any market in which they export to.

Consignments may be detained, re-exported or destroyed at the border if they do not meet MRL and other importing country requirements.

Exporters and export establishments who are unsure of whether they are in compliance with these MRL changes should contact their respective industry body and/or in-market importer, or consider registering for updates to market changes.

Information about importing country requirements is available through MICoR.

Further information about Maximum Residue Limits.

Cooperation opportunities with Taiwan are ripe for the picking!

A cross section of the ‘Tainung Giant’.

Exciting prospects exist for Australian agricultural industry to cooperate with Taiwan on productive and mutually beneficial agricultural projects following the Australia-Taiwan Agricultural Working Group (AWG) hosted in Canberra on 29-30 August.

Discussions at the AWG highlighted the strong collaborative relationship between Australia and Taiwan and the potential that exists for Australian industry to work with Taiwan in seizing new opportunities.

Australian industry is already cooperating with Taiwan on growing unique Taiwanese lychee varieties in Australia, which are new to the local market. At the AWG, Taiwan expressed interest in working with more Australian industries to grow the ‘Tainung Giant’ mandarin and several varieties of new mushrooms in Australia for local and export markets.


Read more about Cooperation opportunities with Taiwan are ripe for the picking!

Bred by Taiwan’s Agricultural Research Institute, the ‘Tainung Giant’ is claimed to be the largest mandarin in the world, averaging 450g to 600g. Taiwan sees the potential in working with the local citrus industry for production and marketing opportunities in Australia of the new variety thanks to the mandarin’s giant size and easily peeled skin—a key point of difference.

Taiwan also identified several varieties of Taiwanese mushrooms not yet produced commercially in Australia. Thanks to Australia’s alternating seasons, this project could provide opportunities to develop a year round supply of mushrooms that are sought after throughout lucrative Asian export markets.

These collaboration projects provide possibilities for Australian producers to have access to new and exciting varieties in the market.

International cooperation such as this will further enhance the bilateral agricultural trade between Australia and Taiwan and strengthen research, development and cooperation in agricultural science and technology, and promote linkages across our two agricultural industries.

Industry bodies or companies interested in cooperating with Taiwan on a commercial basis are encouraged to contact the department at International trade for further information.

Find more information about market access achievements.

New agricultural counsellor profile: Kate Makin

Kate Makin prepares for her new role as an Agricultural Counsellor.

Kate Makin has been appointed as the inaugural Counsellor (Agriculture) to Mexico. Mexico is Australia’s largest export market in Latin America, and with a growing middle class there is plenty of potential for growth in the trade. Particularly for beef, sheepmeat, wine, livestock genetics, dairy products, seed grain and vegetable seeds.

Kate said she is excited about the opportunity to expand Australia’s trade relationship with Mexico.

‘I’m optimistic about what can be achieved during my posting to increase Australia’s agricultural trade and discover more about the Mexican market. As the inaugural Counsellor in Mexico, I will be working to build relationships with key stakeholders, and engage on technical market access requirements, trade negotiations and market access prioritisation,’ Ms Makin said.


Read more about new agricultural counsellor profile: Kate Makin

Since joining the department in 2008, Kate has worked in a various positions, including a stint in the Sydney offices. As a veterinarian, her work has been focused on animal imports and exports which has given Kate an end to end view of what the department does to protect and grow Australia’s agricultural industries.

Kate has had many exciting opportunities in her career ranging from developing systems to protect the welfare of exported livestock, looking after shuttle stallions at Eastern Creek quarantine station and working on important import risk analyses, and continues to be surprised by the opportunities that a career in agricultural can bring. 

Find out more about the overseas network.

New agricultural counsellor profile: Cam Hutchison

Cam Hutchison prepares for his new role as an Agricultural Counsellor.

Cameron Hutchison has been appointed as the Minister Counsellor (Agriculture) in Washington DC in the United States.

Cameron said he is excited and honoured by this opportunity to represent the agriculture portfolio, and Australia more broadly.

‘The United States is a major export market for Australia, and I’m looking forward to the chance to work closely with Australian industry to build on the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement and secure stronger trade outcomes,’ Mr Hutchison said.


Read more about new agricultural counsellor profile: Cameron Hutchison

Since joining the department in 2005, Cameron has worked across a range of areas including trade and domestic policy and programs, as well as serving as a departmental liaison officer. With this experience, and a broad understanding of the department and the portfolio, Cameron will work to create and maintain access opportunities across North America.

Cameron recently had the opportunity to join the US Department of Agriculture’s “foreign agricultural attachés tour” as part of his pre-posting program. As part of the tour, Cameron developed networks with other foreign government representatives and visited agricultural production areas in the US.

Find out more about the overseas network.

New agricultural counsellor profile: Simon Smalley

Simon Smalley prepares for his new role as an Agricultural Counsellor.

Simon Smalley has been appointed as the Minister Counsellor (Agriculture) for the United Kingdom (UK).

During his post, Simon will focus on the opportunities presented by Brexit, including the development of a direct relationship with the UK on agricultural trade and policy, and working with the UK Government as it resets its role in the world.

‘This position in London was established primarily as a result of the opportunities that come from Brexit. My focus will be establishing a direct agricultural trade relationship with the UK. It’s important for Australia to have significant presence in Europe, as the UK resets its relationship with the world,’ Mr Smalley said.


Read more about new agricultural counsellor profile: Simon Smalley

Since joining the department in 2003, Simon has worked across many areas of the department, as well as a posting split between Paris (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and Washington DC. Simon has been involved in the agriculture sector for the majority of his career.

Simon will also represent Australia in the agricultural forums of the World Trade Organisation, and the OECD from later in 2019.

Find out more about the overseas network.

Ministerial visit to the Americas region

Hon David Littleproud (left) and his counterpart, Argentina’s Minister for Agroindustry, Dr Luis Miguel Etchevehere (right) signing the High Level Agricultural Dialogue communique.

The Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, the Hon. David Littleproud MP, travelled to the United States (US), Mexico, Brazil and Argentina in July 2018.

The Minister reinvigorated high-level bilateral agriculture relationships and underlined the value of our international trade in the first visit to the US by an Australian Agriculture Minister since 2009, and the first to Mexico, Brazil and Argentina since 2003.

During the visit, Minister Littleproud announced that Australia will build its presence in the Latin American region with the establishment of dedicated Agricultural Counsellor positions in Mexico and Chile from early 2019.

‘I want to reinforce our longstanding and fruitful agricultural relationship with the United States while building closer relationships with Mexico, Brazil and Argentina,’ Minister Littleproud said.

‘The value of two-way agriculture trade between Australia and the United States, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina was worth a combined $7.6 billion in 2017.’


Read more about Ministerial visit to the Americas region

In the US, the Minister focussed on strengthening ties in trade, biosecurity, and agricultural R&D through meetings with the US Secretary of Agriculture, Congressional agriculture stakeholders, industry groups, the US Department of Agriculture and Texas A&M University.

In Mexico, the Minister furthered Australian agricultural interests through meetings with industry and government stakeholders, including the Mexican Minister for Agriculture.

Mexico is expected to provide increased agricultural trade opportunities for Australia, with the implementation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, our first joint Free Trade Agreement.

In Brazil, Minister Littleproud met with the Brazilian Minister for Agriculture and potential Brazilian investors to Australia. Minister Littleproud also spoke in front of approximately 3,000 agricultural stakeholders at the opening ceremony of the Global Agribusiness Forum.

In Buenos Aires, Argentina, Minister Littleproud represented Australia at the G20 Agriculture Ministers' Meeting. He highlighted Australia's contribution to global food supply and the importance of global value chains for boosting rural prosperity. The Minister also met with counterparts from a number of G20 member countries, providing the opportunity to advocate for Australia’s bilateral agricultural trade interests.

While in Argentina, the Minister co-chaired the inaugural High Level Agriculture Dialogue with Argentina’s Minister for Agroindustry, which provided an opportunity for Australia to learn from Argentinian experiences in agricultural technology, innovation, and R&D.

New irradiation pathway to boost Australia-Thailand trade

Dr Marion Healy (left) from Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and Mr Noppakoonwong Uthai (right) from Thailand’s Department of Agriculture.

A new agreement with Thailand will see Australian persimmons as the first horticultural product exported to Thailand via an irradiation pathway.

As part of a visit to Thailand in mid-August, Dr Marion Healy, First Assistant Secretary, Biosecurity Plant Division, discussed the details of the irradiation pathway with Mr Noppakoonwong Uthai, Deputy Director General of Thailand’s Department of Agriculture.

‘We are very pleased that we have reached agreement with Thailand and announced the irradiation pathway. We are confident this will lead to an even stronger trade relationship between our two countries,’ Dr Healy said.

Dr Healy and Mr Uthai agreed it was important the new pathway ensures fruit and vegetable trade is safe, free of biosecurity pests and diseases and will enable commercially viable trade.


Read more about new irradiation pathway to boost Australia-Thailand trade

Irradiation provides a chemical-free alternative for horticultural growers to export fresh produce to Thailand. Up until now persimmons could only be exported to Thailand using cold treatment.

The speed of this new treatment, coupled with airfreight, will ensure high quality Australian fruit can be readily available for Thai consumers. Persimmons from Queensland will be the first commodity to fly out under the pathway, with mangoes from Thailand likely to be the first import to Australia.

Government and industry working to develop a donkey processing standard

An Australian Donkey.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has been working with the Australian meat industry and state and territory counterparts to develop an Australian industry donkey processing standard.

The working group cooperatively developed the standard to progress market access to China, where there is high demand for edible donkey products.

The standard is intended to provide additional assurances that edible donkey products comply with China’s traceability, sanitary and processing requirements.

Trade in edible donkey products will assist in feral donkey population control in Australia, similar to our goat export market, and provide regional employment opportunities.


Read more about government and industry working to develop a donkey processing standard

Demand for donkey products, especially donkey hide gelatin, is on the rise in China and supply is reducing.

China is Australia’s largest agricultural export market, and although the top three agricultural exports are wool, beef and veal, and barley, the market for donkey product exports is potentially a lucrative option for Australian exporters.

Find out more about Australia’s meat exports.



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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.


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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