Agricultural Trade Quarterly Briefing

In this edition we:

  • Explore new trade opportunities in India and Peru
  • Check in with the Special Representative for Australian Agriculture
  • Introduce the Future Traceability Hub
  • Announce our new Agriculture Counsellors 
  • Call for participants to test new Digital Export Services

And more...

Australia rolls out paperless trade with the EU

image of australian flag and EU flag
eCert makes it faster and easier for Australian exporters to send edible meat, seafood and dairy products to the EU. Image: Shutterstock

From April, Australia started an electronic certification (eCert) exchange with the European Union (EU).

Paper certificates are no longer needed for Australian edible meat, seafood and dairy products.

eCert makes trade arrangements simpler, more efficient, secure and better for the environment.

Benefits include:

  • fast issuing of certificates through secure government-to-government exchange
  • consistent, digital format, resolving issues with lost or illegible paper documents
  • automatic translation into the importing country’s language
  • courier services are not required for collection
  • removal of wet stamps, seals and signatures on carbon paper
  • safer contactless exchanges during the pandemic.

First Assistant Secretary of the Exports and Veterinary Services Division, Nicola Hinder praised the collaborative rollout.

During a recent trip to Brussels and Dublin, she said " Australia is the first system-to-system paperless exchange for meat, seafood and dairy products. This shows our commitment to modernisation.

"eCert is a fantastic step forward and aligns with our broader digitisation and trade reform strategies", she said.

In other modernisation through digitisation achievements, Australia signed an MOU with the Dubai Municipality which, when implemented, will launch eCerts for Australia in the Middle East.

Learn more about how we are transforming export services.

New opportunities for Aussie agriculture into India

Image of Australia- India trade agreement
Interim trade agreement with India will open new opportunities for Australian Agriculture. 

In April this year, Australia announced an interim trade agreement with India, opening new opportunities for our agriculture exports and deepening bilateral cooperation.

The Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA) covers nearly 90 percent of our current agriculture exports to India. This includes tariff elimination or reduction for sheep meat, wool, wine, horticulture, fisheries and forestry products. It will also provide new quotas for lentils, citrus, almonds, cotton and pears that will give Australian exporters a competitive advantage into the Indian market.

The agreement creates new opportunities for engagement with India on agricultural cooperation, biosecurity, and other bilateral trade and investment opportunities. There are new commitments to expand cooperation relating to trade in wine, and the conclusion of a mutual recognition assessment for organic products, and the development of an enhanced Memorandum of Understanding on agricultural cooperation.

AI-ECTA is expected to enter into force in the second half of this year. The agreement paves the way for Australia to seek broader coverage for our agriculture exports through the negotiation of a comprehensive free trade agreement.

This new partnership is another important step in strengthening Australia’s relationship with India and opening new opportunities across the rapidly growing Indian market for our farmers and agricultural exporters.

More details can be found on the DAWE and DFAT websites, and enquiries can be directed to Trade, Market Access and International Division at

Help Transform agricultural exporting

image of red flag saying 'sign up'

Sign up for user research to test new digital services.  Modernising the experience of exporting from Australia means transforming everything from certification and communication to regulation tech and processes. Your involvement could inform:

Image shows text saying 'Updates to the export service, a single account to manage exporting needs. Decisions about exporting systems, processes and regulations. Reductions in time and money needed to get agricultural  goods overseas.'

Signing up also means you might be shown prototypes and ideas before they're released to the public.

To get involved visit the trade reform research panel.

PAFTA provides substantial opportunities for Australian exporters

meeting in PAFTA
A meeting with the Peruvian Health Ministry’s Food Regulations team discussing labelling requirements for Australian food exports to Peru. Image: DAWE

Australian agriculture, fisheries and forestry exports to Peru have grown from $7.4 million (2019) to $57.5 million (2021). This 681 per cent increase is mainly driven by a huge increase in malt and malting barley exports for use by Peru’s brewing industry.

image of meeting
Australia’s Ambassador to Peru and Agriculture Counsellor - Ian Mortimer, and Ambassador Marie Ringland meeting with AB-InBev (Backus) Peru team. All beer shown is exclusively made using Australian Malting Barley! Image: DAWE

Reducing the tariff rate from nine per cent to zero, the Peru Australia Free Trade Agreement (PAFTA) increased the competitiveness of Australian barley putting us on equal footing with Argentina, Canada, Chile, the EU and the US (Source: ITC Market Access Map 2022). This great collaboration means Australian malting barley is a key ingredient of the very popular and tasty Peruvian beer.

PAFTA has also reduced and eliminated other barriers to trade. This includes substantial tariff reductions on lamb, beef, veal, pork and seafood. As well as wheat, dairy, rice, beverages and spirits, fruit, vegetables, vinegar and sugar. These reductions mean we are on track to achieving our goal of reducing tariffs to zero percent by 2025.

Peru joined the Comprehensive and Progressive agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnerships (CPTPP) which entered into force for Peru on 19 September 2021. The reduction in tariffs under CPTPP increased market access and the attractiveness of Australian exports in the Peruvian market.

Peru’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry imports have historically been supplied by countries in the Americas. However, the European Union, Thailand and New Zealand also maintain a sizeable market share (Source: UN Comtrade 2022). Learn more about opportunities for Australian exporters under PAFTA at:  Australian Trade and Investment Commission.

Modernising plant exports
seedlings in dirt
We’re up and running with 5 new projects to modernise plant exports.

Five new trade reform projects are set to help save time, money, audits and duplication for plant exporters. Some use technology and others rely on improving existing ways of working.

The first project is developing an industry-led standard for grain storage.  This will set out how industry will meet both the department’s regulatory goals and the requirements of our trading partners. The benefits include greater clarity, simplicity and confidence in the grain supply chain.

This project has also highlighted opportunities for industry to adopt new technology to sample and test grain for quality and plant health purposes.

Another project is exploring new ways to use technology for assurance. Emerging technology may be able to support or replace manual processes in the export supply chain. This could include imaging technology and machine learning for inspecting goods; drones for crop monitoring and data capture-and-transfer software for treatment monitoring.

We are also looking at using existing systems in innovative ways. For example, for horticultural exports, we may be able to recognise food safety and quality assurance schemes required for the domestic market. This would mean more efficient audits for producers—a bonus in peak season.

Some citrus packhouses have commercial arrangements with growers to ensure good on-farm practices are in place – for example for pest control and farm hygiene. We’re looking at whether these arrangements will meet our legislative and trading partner’s requirement for exporting produce free from pests and diseases.

Finally, we are working with the states and territories on opportunities to better ‘line up’ our regulations. We’ve started with automating state-issued area freedom certificates and standardised treatment regulation.

It’s early days but we are confident we can help get exports to market faster – while maintaining Australia’s reputation as a safe, high-quality producer.

Read more about agricultural export trade reform on our website

PEMS and EXDOC keep improving

shipping containers
Modernising and streamlining export certification services. 

We are modernising and streamlining our export certification systems to provide fast, predictable services that support overseas market access for agricultural products. The Plant Exports Management System (PEMS) and EXDOC have seen many enhancements over the past 12 months improving the end-to-end user experience.

Decreasing the re-submission of Request for Permits (RFPs) by exporters has been a big focus. Through linking information in the EXDOC and PEMS systems and refining how this data is accepted, exporters will spend less time re-submitting RFPs—reducing the turnaround time for export certification.

The system has also been updated for fresh fruit and vegetable RFPs, when no certificate is required. Automatic authorisations have been enabled within the system which again reduces the timeframe for export certification to be produced to the exporter.

Another enhancement enables Authorised Officers, EDI executives, establishment executives and exporter executives to request RFP authorisation within the PEMS system — reducing the number of platforms a user needs to access.

The Vapour Heat Treatment form has also been digitised, so users can now fill it in and submit it online, saving time for exporters and departmental staff. These improvements are part of our ongoing work with stakeholders to ensure export systems of the future are versatile, efficient and connected.

To find out more on exporting plant products visit our website

Boosting agricultural traceability

smart farmer holding smartphone,rice fields
Australia is stepping up our agricultural traceability at every step of the supply chain to unlock premium prices and markets for Australian goods.

The department has established the Future Traceability Hub, as part of a boost to agricultural traceability. The dedicated team is focused on developing an adaptable, efficient and future-ready traceability ecosystem that will optimise traceability at every step of the supply chain.

To step up agricultural traceability, the National Traceability Summit was held over four days in April. The Summit brought together producers, researchers, industry, and government to take stock of the work already underway and to map out the pathway to make Australia a world leader in agricultural traceability.

The Summit addressed three pressing challenge areas - data, regulation and value creation and distribution. Outcomes from these discussions will form the basis of an agricultural traceability strategy and roadmap for the initiatives being implemented by the Future Traceability Hub.

The Summit also launched the Agricultural Traceability Alliance and the National Agricultural Traceability Hub. The Alliance will bring together a coalition of interested stakeholders—such as farmers, producers, agribusiness and exporters—to ensure strong industry and cross jurisdictional engagement on traceability and provide the right foundations for traceability initiatives to be successful.

The National Agricultural Traceability Hub will support this work by providing a virtual space for industry groups, research bodies, state and territory bodies and government to collaboratively develop and drive successful traceability initiatives. It will provide central coordination for all groups and act as a centre of innovation for emerging traceability technology, practices, and standards.

For more information about the Agricultural Traceability Alliance and Future Traceability Hub, email and visit our website.

You can also watch the National Traceability Summit 6-minute highlights package.

women grocery shopping, export containers, farmland


SRAA promotes Australia in Europe

Building connections with the OECD. Image: DAWE

The Special Representative for Australian Agriculture (SRAA), Ms Su McCluskey, has returned from her first official international visit since her appointment in November 2021. Visiting London, Paris, Brussels and Geneva, Su was promoting Australia’s agriculture sustainability credentials.

The visit involved a series of face-to-face meetings with UK and European government officials, industry and peak farming organisations. During these meetings Su engaged in discussions on agriculture sustainability, land management practices, animal welfare and the importance of the multilateral trading system.

The Australian Ambassador to the OECD, Mr Brendan Pearson, hosted an event that was attended by the OECD Secretary General, Mathias Cormann, other OECD ambassadors and senior OECD staff, where in-depth discussions were had on the role that agriculture subsidies play in undermining environmental and emission reduction ambitions.

Bringing her insight as a beef farmer, as well as extensive experience in industry and government, Su provided a credible and persuasive voice in discussions and was able to respond to misperceptions about Australian production practices. The SRAA role promises to significantly boost Australian efforts to progress trade and agriculture agendas.

Further visits are being considered for the US, Latin America, North Asia, India and the Middle East.

Find out more about our Global Agriculture Leadership Initiative.

Agriculture Counsellor appointments

Image of the Earth
New Agricultural Counsellor appointments announced. Image: Shutterstock

Agriculture Counsellors are based in embassies and high commissions in key agriculture markets around the world and play a key role in advancing Australia’s agricultural trade interests.

Our counsellors bring specialist knowledge and expertise to facilitate negotiations and help implement technical agreements on food safety and biosecurity conditions to assist agriculture trade. Through close, collaborative relationships with government agencies and industry stakeholders, they can accelerate technical market access negotiations (led by technical divisions in Canberra) and quickly resolve problems when they arise.

Analysis commissioned by the department found the counsellor network directly contributed a potential $435m in technical market access achievements in 2020-2021.

We have several short and long-term appointments taking up postings between June this year and February 2023.

  • James Allan – Hanoi (short-term Counsellor starting June 2022). James will support the current Counsellor (Agriculture) Mr Tony Allan.
  • Con Goletsos – Seoul (starting September 2022). Con is replacing the current Counsellor (Agriculture), Ms Emma Hatcher.
  • Emma Hatcher - Rome (starting January 2023). Emma is replacing current Counsellor (Agriculture), Ms Lynda Hayden.
  • Juliana Holt - Bangkok (short-term First Secretary starting June 2022). Juliana will support the current Counsellor (Agriculture) Ms Amber Parr.
  • Jesse Mahoney – Washington. Jesse is currently in Washington on a short-term assignment and will continue in the Counsellor role until July 2025. Jesse will support the current Minister-Counsellor Mr Matthew Worrell.
  • Sammi Naeemi Hosseini – Riyadh (First Secretary). Sammi’s current short-term assignment in Riyadh has been extended until December 2023.
  • Richard Niall – New Delhi (First Secretary starting October 2022). Richard will support the current Counsellor (Agriculture), Kiran Karamil.
  • Tanya Oliver – Mexico City (starting January 2023). Tanya will replace the current Counsellor, Dr Kate Makin.
  • Kelly Porter - Tokyo (starting in February 2023). Kelly will replace the current Counsellor, Mr Thomas Krijnen.
  • Nektarios Tsirbas - Santiago (starting in in January 2023). Nek will replace the current Counsellor (Agriculture), Mr Ian Mortimer.

For more information on our Agricultural Counsellor network see our website.

Celebrating Iftar at sunset with Saudi- Australian fair

1.Australia's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, His Excellency Mark Donovan welcoming guests to celebrate Iftar. Image: DAWE
2.Guests enjoying a selection of Arabic and Australian style cuisine. Image: DAWE
3.First Secretary, Ms Samareh (Sammi) Hosseini, addressing the honoured guests.Image: DAWE

On 12 April 2022, during Ramadan, the Australian Embassy in Riyadh hosted guest of honour, His Excellency Eng Al Rumaih, the CEO of Saudi Agricultural Livestock Investment Company (SALIC) and 30 other distinguished guests from the Gulf Standard Organisation (GSO), Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture (MEWA), Saudi Food and Drug Authorities (SFDA), retailers and importers to celebrate Iftar. Guests enjoyed a selection of Arabic and Australian style cuisine, which included Australian lamb and beef.

Ramadan is the ninth month of Islamic calendar and the holy month of fasting which begins and ends with sighting of the new lunar moon. For Muslims, it is a period of introspection and one of the most important months of the year during which they fast from sunrise to sunset.

First Secretary (Agriculture), Ms Samareh (Sammi) Hosseini, thanked guests for attending and for their support throughout the year.  “Ramadan is such a special time for Muslims, not only to pray and reflect, but to also be charitable and celebrate with family and friends. We are humbled by the opportunity to share a meal with you at your Suhoor time, wishing you a happy Ramadan and celebrating the special friendships between our two countries - Ramadan Mubarak”, she said.

Australia’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, His Excellency Mark Donovan, specifically acknowledged guest of honour HE Eng Al Rumaih, sharing his and Australia’s appreciation of SALIC’s investment in Australia.

“I am proud of the robust Saudi-Australia relationship and the growing agricultural trade and investment between our two countries. Having an experienced agriculture counsellor in Saudi demonstrates the importance of this market to us. Having Sammi on the ground, our agricultural trade relationship in this market has gone from strength to strength”. 

The importance of agriculture counsellors in forging key relationships and increasing government engagement and cooperation on agricultural trade matters cannot be understated.

In 2021 Australia’s major food and agriculture exports to Saudi Arabia included wheat, barley, lamb, beef, mutton, lucerne seeds, pulses and carrots valued at nearly $1.2 billion.

Follow us @AusAgTrade for further updates on the activities of our international Agriculture Counsellor network.