A report released by the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) today supports the need for government and industry to address priority non-tariff barriers (NTBs) across the agri-food export sector, to further enhance the export momentum generated by Australia’s recent Free Trade Agreements.

The report Non-Tariff Barriers Facing Australia’s Agri-Food Exports has found that 65% of key agri-food organisations considered that technical and regulatory barriers to trade had either a significant impact on their export performance or blocked exports completely.

AFGC CEO Mr Gary Dawson said that the recent conclusion of the FTA’s with China, Japan and Korea has injected renewed confidence in agri-food exports and this report highlights the significant amount of work required by industry if it wants to maximise the opportunities gained from tariff reductions.

“Technical, or non-tariff, barriers are impeding billions of dollars in trade. To quantify these costs industry analysis undertaken for the Australian red meat and dairy export industries have estimated the industry impact of technical barriers to trade at around $1.25 billion and $1.57 billion respectively.”

“We as an industry need to work with government to address priority non-tariff barriers that include product registration and certification, labelling requirements and changing customs requirements in foreign markets,” said Mr Dawson.

“There is no doubt all the signs are there for strong export growth as Australian food and beverage exports increased by 28% to $25.7 billion in 2014-15, with the sector running a trade surplus of $10.4 billion.

“Australia has negotiated trade agreements with eight of the top 10 export food and beverage markets, with the China bilateral deal being the ninth agreement. The impact of the FTAs on the economy is already being seen in the strong contribution of export growth to overall GDP growth in the National Accounts released on Wednesday. To maximise the export benefits achieved through trade negotiations, a renewed focus should be given to addressing the non-tariff barriers that remain.”

In conjunction with the AFGC report on Non-Tariff Barriers, law firm Baker & McKenzie have released a Food Law Guide for the Asia Pacific “We know from our work with Australian food businesses that exporting food to Asia can be complex, costly, and administratively difficult. Increased collaboration between industry, government and professionals in relation to non-tariff barriers to trade is a significant issue for the Australian food sector”, said Mr Ross Mclean, Partner, Baker & McKenzie

“Launch of our APAC Food Law Guide is an important step towards increasing the flow of communication and assisting food businesses, both large and small, to navigate the rules of the road in key markets in Asia”.

Mr Dawson agreed and highlighted “Pro-active initiatives to develop, streamline and harmonise international and regional standards that facilitate global food trade are supported by industry. Such regulatory convergence can reduce export compliance costs.”

Non-Tariff Barriers Facing Australia’s Agri-Food Exports can be accessed here.



AFGC Media Contact: James Mathews 0407 416 002