Agricultural Trade and Market Access Cooperation (ATMAC) Program

The 2020 ATMAC Grant Opportunity closed on 31 January and projects will commence from June 2020 for a period of up to 18 months.

Applications for funding in the 2021 round will be open in late 2020.

ATMAC grants are administered by the Australian Government Community Grants Hub on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

To find out more visit Community Grants Hub.

Background

The ATMAC program supports cooperative activities and projects that help Australia’s agricultural sector to open, improve and maintain access to overseas markets by building stronger, mutually beneficial relationships with trading partners, neighbouring countries and international organisations.

The program commenced in 2015–16 as a 4-year commitment under the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, to improve access to premium markets and deliver better farmgate returns. The program has funded projects delivered by people from a broad range of agricultural sectors and industries (for example, meat, horticulture, organics), and with a distribution of project types across a range of markets. The activities funded under the program have made a valuable contribution to realising market access opportunities for Australian agricultural products, and strengthening relationships with key trading partners.

The 2019–20 Budget included a commitment to extend the ATMAC program, with a total of $6 million in administered funding allocated over 4 years to 2022–23. Grant opportunities are being offered via annual, competitive, merit-based funding rounds of up to $1.5 million each year. Applications are accepted from industry, state and territory governments, research institutions and universities.

Funding Priorities

The ATMAC funding priorities are established through consultation with key policy areas within the department, and are reviewed annually to ensure they remain current and closely align with the government and industry’s highest priorities.

The funding priorities for the 2020 grant opportunity were to:

  • help realise market access opportunities created for Australian exporters under recently ratified free trade agreements
  • contribute to the negotiation of protocols for new and improved market access
  • assist Australian industry in breaking down technical and non-tariff barriers to trade for Australian agricultural exports
  • assist trading partner’s knowledge of Australia’s biosecurity, food safety and compliance regimes and practices, and to increase capacity to respond to exotic pests and disease incursions.

Project outcomes

The ATMAC program funds activities and projects that closely align with, and support, Australian government objectives in enhancing agricultural trade. They also demonstrate a strong focus on outcomes such as:

  • undertaking research and development in collaboration with trading partners to help identify, use, open or improve mutually beneficial agricultural trade opportunities
  • working with overseas governments and international organisations to develop common regulatory and technical requirements and standards
  • building evidence to inform Australia’s position in international agricultural trade policy and advocacy of standards
  • sharing technical expertise and research to increase trading partners’ knowledge of Australia’s biosecurity, food safety and compliance regimes and practices, and to increase their preparedness to respond to exotic pests and disease incursions
  • promoting good biosecurity risk management practices, improving scientific capabilities and strengthening surveillance efforts in trading partner and neighbouring countries
  • build agricultural trading relationships through cooperation activities that increase mutual understanding of technical and policy issues that affect market access, such as non-tariff measures
  • helping Australia meet its international obligations, such as commitments made under the World Trade Organisation Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement.

Examples of previous ATMAC funded projects include:

  • a project to develop guidance for shared use by Australian industry and governments to enhance understanding of Australia’s food safety and export regulatory systems
  • a technical collaboration between Australia and China on Bluetongue Virus
  • a project to assist Australian blueberry growers to use newly established protocols (low dose radiation) to increase market access to Indonesia
  • a cooperation project to assist the Australian grain industry to further develop commercial, regulatory and technical alignment with key Asian markets
  • Cold chain integrity workshops in China
  • Australian camel export development in the Gulf States
  • gaining market access through developing a management system for the use of the Australian Organic Mark
  • development of a packaging innovation for export of sheep carcasses to Mexico
  • development of implementation tools to facilitate trade through harmonisation of maximum residue limits for pesticides
  • a cattle breeding seminar in Hanoi to enhance linkages between Australian and Vietnamese breeding industries
  • a project to enhance the capacity of Thai animal health laboratories to conduct prawn viral disease testing and quarantine management to meet Australia’s requirements
  • a research project to support pesticide maximum residue limit (MRL) with CODEX
  • a technical market collaboration with Japan on diseases affecting live cattle
  • a seminar with food exporters from the Philippines on the requirements for importing food to Australia.
Last reviewed: 16 September 2020
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