Dairy happy to be back

Australian milk products will now be exported to India for the first time since 2003, as a result of goverment negotiations.

Minister for Trade, Simon Crean, and Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Tony Burke, welcomed the news that the market would reopen.

Australian dairy exports to India were worth around $6 million annually (including milk powder concentrate and lactose) in 2003, and that is expected to grow once trade recommences in the near future.

Industry is also expected to gradually seek a share of other imports, such as cheese, which is currently worth $4 million and growing at 100% per annum.

Dairy desserts such as ice cream will be another key dairy product of high-value.

Several Australian exporters have expressed a keen interest in exporting dairy products for human consumption to India.

The announcement follows the Indian Government’s approval of a new system for the health certification of Australian milk products developed by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service.

Trade had ceased in late 2003 when India changed its import requirements.

Minister Crean said the reopening of trade showed the growing agricultural relationship between Australia and India and the benefits of on-going cooperation on bilateral trade issues.

“India’s changing demographics — particularly its growing middle class and urbanisation — is creating real potential for the trade growth and Australia is well placed to provide high-value dairy products,” Crean said.

Minister Burke said Australian dairy producers were under pressure from factors including global input prices and the falling farmgate price.

“This will be a great opportunity for the industry at a time when Australian dairy producers have been going through a difficult period,” Burke said.

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