Agricultural Trade Quarterly Briefing - March 2022

In this edition we:

  • highlight improvements to export processes and wins for exporters
  • celebrate the latest ATMAC grant announcements
  • welcome new Agricultural Counsellors to Washington
  • take a look at the latest free trade agreements
  • introduce new ways to get market intelligence updates.

 Asia-Pacific Regional Conference

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The 36th Session of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Asia-Pacific Regional Conference (APRC) will be held from 8-11 March in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The APRC is an important forum for countries in the region to discuss key agricultural and food systems issues and help guide the FAO’s significant program of work in our region.
Key topics for discussion this year include the ongoing impact of COVID-19, natural resources management and climate resilience, food security and nutrition, and One Health priorities.
The Conference will also showcase innovative technology for improved food security and nutrition outcomes, and importantly, identify priority areas for future work.
The department works closely with our regional partners to help address some of these challenges, including through the Pacific Biosecurity Partnership Program. This program contributes to agricultural sector growth and improved food security through better market access and biosecurity outcomes.
Recommendations coming out of the APRC will be considered at the FAO’s global conference in Rome in June 2023.
Australia’s Agriculture Counsellor in Rome, Deputy Permanent Representative to the FAO, Ms Lynda Hayden noted that the food security and nutrition challenges in this region are significant.
 'The APRC is an important forum to ensure that the voices and perspectives from our region, and particularly the Pacific, are heard and reflected within the FAO’s agenda and priorities', she said.
Find more information on the FAO website.

The Agricultural Trade and Market Access Cooperation program update

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As part of its role in achieving the $100 billion industry production target, the expanded Agricultural Trade and Market Access Cooperation (ATMAC) program includes $26.5 million in grant funding to support new export market opportunities for Australia’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry sector.
Under ATMAC, $7.7 million has been committed to 12 grants to grow Australian agriculture exports. Since our last edition, grants have been awarded to:

  • WoolProducers - the $662,000 grant will support exploration of new international markets and look at options for wool processing. The grant will help WoolProducers examine the feasibility of bringing back early-stage processing of greasy wool in Australia, and the feasibility of early-stage processing offshore. If financially viable, this will mitigate and reduce the current risk   of exposure to a single processing market faced by the Australian wool industry and help expand export markets.
  • Infant Nutrition Council - the $160,000 grant will enable the Infant Nutrition Council to develop and expand market access by focussing on 3 priority regions – South-East Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. A comprehensive strategic market access framework will be developed to guide the diversification and expansion of this trade.
  • Australian Food and Wine Collaboration Group - the $500,000 grant to the Australian Food and Wine Collaboration Group comprising the dairy, wine, meat, horticulture and seafood industries, will promote and market Australia’s premium food and wine in South Korea and several South-East Asian markets. This Team Australia showcase will increase awareness of our high-quality, clean, reliable, and sustainable food and wine across the consumer, retailer and trade sectors. This grant will support rural research and development corporations and industry and trade associations to work together and leverage their individual expertise in key export markets.
  • National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) - the $210,000 grant will allow the organisation to implement their International Engagement Strategy.  The strategy will help the NFF get international farmer-led coalitions, such as the World Farmers’ Organisation, and the Cairns Group Farm Leaders forum, onto international stages including the FAO and the United Nations. The NFF will work closely with the newly appointed Special Representative for Australian Agriculture Su McCluskey to promote Australian agriculture to the world. The benefits from this grant, will support the entire Australian agriculture sector, including farmers, growers, supply chains, processors and exporters.
  • Berries Australia Limited - the $239,000 grant will help Berries Australia Limited to increase exports of Australian blueberries and strawberries in high-growth markets like Singapore, India, Thailand and the UAE. The grant will provide funding for new resources, including culturally appropriate recipes highlighting the health and nutritional benefits of Australian berries, to support trade development. The grant will also support a trade seminar series on Australian Berries for importers and retailers in overseas markets.

Free Trade Agreement signed with the United Kingdom

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On 17 December 2021, the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan, and UK Secretary of State for International Trade, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, signed the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (A-UK FTA).
The A-UK FTA is the most comprehensive free trade agreement Australia has signed with any trading partner since the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relationship. It will provide market expansion into the UK and broaden opportunities for all Australian exporters including farmers and agricultural producers.
Big wins include the removal of around 99 percent of tariffs on goods exports - a great outcome for our beef and sheep meat, dairy, sugar, wine and horticulture industries. This FTA will also support agricultural labour mobility between the UK and Australia and establishes new sanitary and phytosanitary cooperation arrangements.
The UK is Australia’s 11th largest agricultural trading partner, with two-way agricultural trade valued at $1.6 billion in 2020-21. During that period, Australia’s agricultural exports to the UK were worth $823 million. Key commodities included wine ($514 million), canola seeds ($101 million), lamb and mutton ($77 million), chickpeas ($15 million), and cocoa and chocolate ($12 million).
Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia, Hon David Littleproud MP, said once the A-UK FTA comes into force later this year, we should see immediate opportunities for Australian farmers and exporters from the agreement, particularly as the UK is already an important market for Australia’s premium agricultural products.

For more information, see the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.

Market access win for peaches and nectarines to Vietnam

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Australian nectarines Image: Narelle Marro, DAWE
On 1 February 2022, after many years of negotiations, the department’s Biosecurity Plant Division finalised the protocol to export peaches and nectarines to Vietnam.
COVID travel restrictions provided a great opportunity for the department to be innovative, with the first interactive virtual audit for a plant commodity. The virtual audit took place over multiple orchards, treatment and packing facilities throughout Victoria.
Australia’s peaches and nectarines are expected to be a real hit in Vietnam, as they are famous for being big, sweet, and juicy. Vietnam’s growing middle class is a lucrative market and industry is excited about an expected $8 million market being opened for our premium stone fruit.
The department is working with industry to enable trial exports by the end of this season, before opening the trade for the start of next season.
The Agri-Business Expansion Initiative (ABEI) allowed the department to accelerate reciprocal market access with Vietnam. ABEI supports trade expansion and provides greater export opportunities for regional communities.
Find out more about Vietnam’s import requirements for peaches and nectarines.

United States of America – a key trading partner

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Jesse Mahoney (counsellor) and Cam Hutchison (former Minister-Counsellor) at the 2021 National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) annual conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Image: DAWE

The USA is a key trading partner for Australian agriculture and is Australia’s third biggest agriculture export market. Top Australian exports include beef, sheep meat and wine.
The USA is also a significant investor in Australian agriculture and a major supplier of agricultural chemicals, machinery and equipment.  
They are the largest agriculture exporter in the world and compete with Australian agricultural exports in mutually important markets. In 2021, USA farm and food product exports to the world totalled USD177 billion.
At the same time Australia and the United States worked collaboratively to advance the common interests of our respective commercial farming, fisheries and forestry sectors. This is important in maintaining vital frameworks around rules-based trade and the global implementation of science-based agricultural practices.
The department has a permanent presence in Washington DC to support the bilateral agriculture relationship. Recently, Cameron Hutchison who served as Minister-Counsellor in the USA returned to Australia after a successful 3 year assignment. Cameron was integral to maintaining and growing the relationship across two distinctly different US administrations, advancing important market access interests, bidding farewell to manual remarking for meat products, and helping industry navigate shipping delays from the pandemic shock.
Matthew Worrell and Jesse Mahoney are now in Washington working to maintain and build the relationship and to assist industry and the department progress technical trade matters. Matt and Jesse are also engaging with US officials and industry on developments in the USA that are relevant to Australian agriculture interests. These include:

  • the Administration’s focus on climate smart agriculture and innovation
  • efforts to address supply chain logistic disruptions created by the COVID-19 pandemic and perceived market power imbalances along the supply chain
  • trade policy developments, including the US-China agriculture trade relationship and the development of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework
  • the lead-up to the commencement of the next US Farm Bill negotiations in 2023.

Find out more about our overseas network on our website.
Market Intelligence updates and launch of @AusAgTrade

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We are helping exporters and Australian agriculture stakeholders make informed business decisions. The Agri-Business Expansion Initiative (ABEI) assists Australian exporters to access and expand into new agricultural trade markets. In particular, the market intelligence component of ABEI enhances the department’s ability to collect, analyse and share market intelligence with Australian agricultural stakeholders.
Three key initiatives will be launched this March: 

1. National Agriculture Market Intelligence Roundtable

The inaugural National Agriculture Market Intelligence Roundtable will focus on Indonesia as a key agriculture, fisheries and forestry export destination. This provides a great opportunity for peak industry bodies, rural research and development corporations, Austrade, The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, jurisdictions and our overseas counsellors to attend, build networks and share market intelligence relating to the Indonesia market.
The first roundtable will be held on 18 March 2022 with another in late 2022.

2. National Agriculture Market Intelligence Hub

The National Agriculture Market Intelligence Hub will showcase qualitative and quantitative market intelligence data, including global trade heat maps and import and export datasets.
Peak industry bodies, rural research and development corporations, and government organisations will be granted access in March 2022.

3. Launch of @AusAgTrade social media accounts

The department is launching two new social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter. These accounts will publish our #TradeTips market intelligence and data, as well as trade and market access developments and information.

Follow @AusAgTrade on Twitter and Facebook!

Growing interest in alternate verification

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Caption: Australian regulators are using ICT technologies to undertake verification of supply chains. Image: Shutterstock.
During the pandemic, several trading partners expressed interest in using alternate verification to complement or replace in-country audits. As a result, Australian and overseas regulators have adopted more flexible approaches to verify domestic and export supply chains.
Traditional approaches, including on-site audits, are being supplemented with remote audits using available technology and desk top assessments.    
The Advancing Market Access initiative will support the department’s ongoing work to reduce regulatory burdens on exporters and provide quicker access to markets. This will support more trading partners to accept the use of alternate verification methods as new international guidelines are being developed.
The department is leading a range of initiatives through Codex, the World Trade Organisation, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to promote a consistent approach by trading partners.

For more information, visit CCFICS conference room document, or email

Trade modernisation delivers the goods

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Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) has announced Australia’s agricultural exports are on track to reach a record-breaking $61 billion in 2021–22. Higher export volumes and prices are forecast for almost every major export commodity, despite our producers and exporters facing unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Supporting our agricultural sector’s export growth is at the heart of the trade reform program - that is modernising how we regulate our agricultural trade.
The department’s Deputy Secretary, David Hazlehurst, said investments in new digital technologies and process improvements are providing long-term benefits for exporters.
‘We are modernising systems and expanding our market intelligence services to further support the continued growth of Australia’s agriculture exports. We’ve already made significant progress updating and improving our export legislation and boosting our agricultural counsellor network to provide producers with greater opportunities’, he said.
A cornerstone of the trade reform program is the Export Service, which in the future will be the single place to manage agricultural export transactions online.
In addition, significant enhancements have been made to the Manual of Importing Country Requirements (Micor) system. Users can now subscribe to receive weekly updates on importing country requirements.

Find out more about the reforms that are modernising Australia’s agricultural trade system by visiting our website:

TRACE improves the livestock export application process 

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The department is improving our TRacking Animal Certification for Exports (TRACE) system and reducing your paperwork
This system is used by exporters and the department to manage applications for exporting livestock consignments from Australia. It is also used to manage livestock export licences, registration of establishments and of Accredited Veterinarians.
The new functionality will guide exporters through the required core documents they need to include based on the consignment market and advise when no core documents are required. It also provides exporters with the ability to manage the core documents separately from all other consignment documents, including deleting or editing the core documents prior to document inspection.

 Find out more in our department's Export Advisory Notice.

The Export Control Rules 2021 have been amended

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Caption: Benefits of the amendments to the Export Control Rules 2021 include improved regulatory arrangements for inspections of bulk vessels containing exports. Image Sutterstock.
Australia’s Export Control Rules 2021 (the Rules) have been amended following a public consultation and review of Australia’s export legislation framework.
There have been changes in the Rules for animals, meat, miscellaneous, organic goods, plant, poultry, rabbit and ratite and wild game. However, the Rules for eggs, fish, milk, and wood remain the same.
Most of the changes are relatively minor, although more substantive changes have been made to:

  • Export Control (Meat and Meat Products) Rules 2021 - in an agreed approach with industry, meat inspection by Food Safety Meat Assessors will only occur when  required by an importing country. This means Food Safety Meat Assessors will not be provided where the function could otherwise be provided through Australian Government Authorised Officers.
  • Export Control (Plant and Plant Products) Rules 2021 - regulatory arrangements for the inspection of vessels exporting Australian plant and plant products (such as grain) will be improved, with more effective checks and balances to ensure inspection practices meet the expected standard.

These refinements reflect the outcome of a review of the export legislation following its commencement on 28 March 2021. The changes ensure that the legislation remains fit for purpose and supports growth and innovation, while maintaining strong regulation and oversight and ensuring importing country requirements are met.

Find out more about the changes to each rule on our website.

Transforming Australia’s exports

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To support industry in meeting its Ag 2030 goal of growing agriculture to $100 billion, we’ve been making some improvements to export systems.
These improvements have resulted in the beta release of the Export Service. Being in beta means that it’s an early release to seek feedback from users.
While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles just yet, the Export Service is designed to save users time by allowing them to manage all their exporting interactions in one place. 
Right now, the Export Service supports three important user needs, allowing:

  1. export registered establishments to make changes to company details online
  2. meat processing establishments to view hygiene data on a performance dashboard
  3. establishments receiving corrective actions from an audit to be able to provide evidence online.

If you’d like to delve deeper into the work we’re doing to improve exporting, read our blog on LinkedIn for more about the Export Service.

Get involved with the change

If you’re involved in exporting agricultural goods, share your opinions with our researchers to help shape future additions to the Export Service. Whether you’re in producing, trading, logistics or another aspect of exporting, sign up for user research on our website