Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, minus the US, reborn

The TPP, a major trade deal that has been almost a decade in the making has been reborn as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

11 of the original countries involved in the TPP negotiations are set to sign the agreement in Chile, in March. These countries are Japan, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Malaysia, Singapore, Chile, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei.

The notable exception to the new agreement is the US, which pulled out of the agreement after Donald Trump’s election as President.

“This is a multi-billion-dollar win for Australian jobs. Australian workers, businesses, farmers and consumers will benefit,” Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Trade, Tourism & Investment, Steven Ciobo said in a joint statement.

“The Government took a leadership role and worked hard to deliver the TPP because it will generate more Australian exports and create new Australian jobs.”

“The TPP will eliminate more than 98 per cent of tariffs in a trade zone with a combined GDP of $13.7 trillion. The agreement will deliver 18 new free trade agreements between the TPP parties. For Australia that means new trade agreements with Canada and Mexico and greater market access to Japan, Chile, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei.”

Significant wins for Australian exporters under the deal include:

  • Accelerated reductions in Japan’s import tariffs on beef, where Australian exports were worth $2 billion in 2015-16 – under TPP-11 even better access.
  • Elimination of a range of cheese tariffs into Japan covering more than $100 million of trade that was not covered by the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement.
  • New quotas for wheat and rice to Japan, and for sugar into Japan, Canada and Mexico.
  • Elimination of all tariffs on sheep meat, cotton, wool, seafood, horticulture, wine and industrial products (manufactured goods).
  • Eleven separate deals – legally enforceable market access to all these countries.
  • Investment sets up strong legally enforceable commitments on the way countries regulate foreign investment.

Australian wine exports booming

Australian wine exports increased by 15 per cent to $2.56 billion in the 12 months ending December 2017, according to Wine Australia’s Export Report.

The 15 per cent increase in the value of exports is the highest annual growth rate since 2004 and it was also a record-breaking year for volume, with exports growing by 8 per cent to 811 million litres, a calendar year high.

Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer, Andreas Clark, said the positives continued with the sector achieving a 7 per cent increase in average value per litre free on board (FOB*) to $3.16, the highest level since 2009.

“Growing demand for premium Australian wine, particularly in Northeast Asia, increased the value of bottled wine exports by 17 per cent to $2.1 billion, while the average price per litre for bottled wine grew by 3 per cent to a record $5.63,” Clark said. 

Wine exported in bulk also experienced price increases, with total value increasing by 10 per cent to $440 million and average value per litre increasing by 6 per cent to $1.03, the highest average value since 2012.

Clark said it was notable that exports of wines priced above $10 per litre grew by 29 per cent to a record $738 million.

Australia’s top five markets by value in 2017 were:

  • China mainland (33 per cent of total export value)
  • United States (18 per cent)
  • United Kingdom (14 per cent)
  • Canada (7 per cent), and
  • Hong Kong (5 per cent).

Australia’s top five markets by volume in 2017 were:

  • United Kingdom (28 per cent share of total export volume)
  • United States (21 per cent)
  • China mainland (19 per cent)
  • Canada (8 per cent), and
  • Germany (5 per cent).

Screen Shot 2018-01-24 at 8.39.05 AM

 

Minister for Agriculture heads Leadership Dialogue with India

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud, will lead the Australian delegation participating in the Australia India Leadership Dialogue in Delhi this month.

Littleproud said he was thrilled to have the opportunity to help expand the prosperous trade and investment relationship shared by the two nations.

“Two-way trade in goods and services with India is now worth more than $20 billion,”  Littleproud said.

“Two-way investment has risen from $3 billion in 2006 to $23.9 billion in 2016. Our growing trade and investment shows the strength of Australia’s partnership with India, which holds powerful opportunities for both nations in the future.”

During his visit Littleproud also looks forward to his first meeting with his counterpart, the Indian Hon. Minister of State, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Ms Krishna Raj.

“Agriculture is such a vital part of our bilateral relationship, with many common interests and challenges, which we can work together on to benefit both our countries. This includes working to strengthen our agricultural trade, and constructively discussing bilateral difficulties,” Littleproud said.

Minister Littleproud said the Australia India Leadership Dialogue would help strengthen overall economic ties between the two countries, and boost cooperation across key sectors such as knowledge, health and water resources.

“The Dialogue brings together high-level delegates from both India and Australia’s government, business and civil society,” Littleproud said.

“With India already the world’s seventh largest economy and set to remain the fastest growing major economy for the foreseeable future – at around 7 per cent per annum ¬– it is vital that Australia understands the requirements for sustained Indian growth—and works to complement them.

“Countries like India and Australia—open to the world, healthy democracies with cohesive societies and strong economies—have the adaptability and global connections for international success.

“That is why we place such a high value on our relationship India: better economic cooperation will drive prosperity in both nations.”

Littleproud is leading the Australian delegation to India for the Australia India Leadership Dialogue from Sunday 21 January to Tuesday 23 January 2018.​

Govt says Canada treating Aussie wine unfairly

The Turnbull Coalition Government has initiated formal World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement action against what it claims are Canada’s discriminatory measures affecting Australian wine.

Australia has taken the first step in commencing formal consultations with Canada regarding measures Australia believes impose arbitrary and disadvantageous restrictions on the sale of imported wine in Canadian grocery stores, inconsistent with Canada’s WTO obligations.

This step responds to concerns from the Australian wine industry regarding the Canadian measures, which negatively impact trade with Australia’s fourth largest export market for wine, currently valued at $185 million.

Australia strongly supports the multilateral trading system, with the WTO at its heart. One of the key strengths of the WTO is its disputes system, which ensures WTO Members comply fully with their commitments.

While it would have been preferable to resolve this issue bilaterally, it is appropriate to commence dispute proceedings given the lack of progress.

Australia last initiated formal WTO action in 2003.

Committee appointed to review livestock exports

​An expert Technical Advisory Committee has been appointed to review the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL).

Deputy Secretary at the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Malcolm Thompson, said the ASEL was critical to the export of Australian livestock.

“We want to maintain Australia’s reputation as a world leader in animal welfare standards and as an ethical and reliable trading partner for quality protein,” Mr Thompson said.

“The ASEL standards have underpinned very strong animal welfare outcomes, with the mortality rate for Australian livestock exported by sea on a downward trend since 2006.

“This committee will work closely with a Reference Group of key stakeholders, including Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council, the RSPCA, livestock producer bodies and the Australian Veterinary Association to ensure the standards consider livestock industry innovation and development, along with the latest animal health and welfare research.

“We have representation on the committee across different facets of the trade, with an independent chair, two animal welfare experts—including a current researcher and an eminent veterinarian—a regulatory design specialist and a livestock industry expert.

“This will ensure we have skills and expertise on modern animal welfare and livestock management practices and research, along with a commitment to best practice regulation to deliver clearer and simpler standards.

The members of the Technical Advisory Committee are:

Dr Chris Back – Chair

Dr Teresa Collins – Animal Health and Welfare Expert

Dr Hugh Millar – Animal Health and Welfare Expert

Mr Russell Phillips – Regulation Specialist

Mr Kevin Shiell – Livestock Export Industry Expert.

Committee members are appointed for two years and will commence their work immediately, with public consultation to start in early 2018.

Littleproud to visit India to discuss agricultural tariffs

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud, will visit India, where he will make representations to the Indian Government around tariffs on chickpeas and lentils.

Tariffs on Australian chickpeas and lentils entering India from Australia were raised without notice from 0 to 30 per cent, with immediate effect, on December 21.

Speaking from the GrainCorp terminal in Geelong this afternoon as part of his first Victorian visit as Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Minister Littleproud said he’d take the concerns of Australian growers to the Indian Government.

“Australia hugely appreciates its good relationship with India,” Minister Littleproud said.

“India is the world’s second largest population and is our fifth-largest export market, worth $3.1 billion in agriculture exports in 2016-17. India takes $1.1 billion worth of our chickpeas and another $195 million worth of our lentils.

“Whist we recognise India is within its rights under the WTO to raise its tariffs, it makes life extremely tough for farmers when the returns change after a crop is planted.

“Growers need certainty to make decisions which affect their lives.”

Minister Littleproud said he aimed to build on the good work of Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Steven Ciobo.

Pulses Australia estimates 83,000 tonnes of chickpeas worth $58 million is currently at sea destined for India.​

Food & beverages top Aus manufacturing export ranking

The Australian food and beverage manufacturing sectors are leading the way in exports, according to a broader set of figures detailing exports by the broader manufacturing sector.

According to the figures compiled by IBIS World, in 2017 exports by the food and beverage sector totalled $26,658.4m. In addition, the sector recorded a five-year growth CAGR of 8.7 per cent.

Here, we break down the industry into its fastest-growing export sectors, including those countries that rely on Australian production the most and, vice versa, which countries are importing to Australia in bulk.

Australian manufacturing exports ($m) – IBIS World

Food Product:

2007: 19,495.1
2012: 17,543.4
2017: 26,658.4
Five-year growth CAGR: 8.7%
Most imports – origin: New Zealand
Most exports – destination: Japan


Beverages

2007: 3,844.0
2012: 2,229.7
2017: 2,723.9
Five-year growth CAGR: 4.1%
Most imports – origin: New Zealand
Most exports – destination: China


Textile, Leather, Clothing and Footwear

2007: 1,939.8
2012: 1,949.8
2017: 2,112.9
Five-year growth CAGR: 1.6%
Most imports – origin: China
Most exports – destination: China


Wood Product

2007: 1,570.4
2012: 955.7
2017: 1,450.8
Five-year growth CAGR: 8.7%
Most imports – origin: China
Most exports – destination: China


Pulp, Paper and Converted Paper Product

2007: 1,307.0
2012: 1,130.8
2017: 1,299.5
Five-year growth CAGR: 2.8%
Most imports – origin: China
Most exports – destination: New Zealand


Printing (Including the Reproduction of Recorded Media)

2007: 265.4
2012: 190.0
2017: 85.0
Five-year growth CAGR: -14.9%
Most imports – origin: China
Most exports – destination: New Zealand


Petroleum and Coal Product

2007: 4,152.5
2012: 3,588.3
2017: 2,052.1
Five-year growth CAGR: -10.6%
Most imports – origin: Singapore
Most exports – destination: Ship & Aircraft


Basic Chemical and Chemical Product

2007: 8,119.9
2012: 7,198.3
2017: 6,968.3
Five-year growth CAGR: -0.6%
Most imports – origin: US
Most exports – destination: China


Polymer Product and Rubber Product

2007: 1,291.5
2012: 1,026.2
2017: 1,204.8
Five-year growth CAGR: 3.3%
Most imports – origin: China
Most exports – destination: New Zealand


Non-Metallic Mineral Product

2007: 350.3
2012: 230.1
2017: 250.0
Five-year growth CAGR: 1.7%
Most imports – origin: China
Most exports – destination: New Zealand


Primary Metal and Metal Product

2007: 39,601.8
2012: 35,459.1
2017: 34,387.3
Five-year growth CAGR: -0.6%
Most imports – origin: Japan
Most exports – destination: Hong Kong


Fabricated Metal Product

2007: 1,509.6
2012: 1,193.7
2017: 1,488.1
Five-year growth CAGR: 4.5%
Most imports – origin: China
Most exports – destination: New Zealand


Transport Equipment

2007: 6,312.6
2012: 4,437.4
2017: 5,201.1
Five-year growth CAGR: 3.2%
Most imports – origin: Japan
Most exports – destination: US


Machinery and Equipment

2007: 11,490.2
2012: 11,636.6
2017: 13,413.4
Five-year growth CAGR: 2.9%
Most imports – origin: China
Most exports – destination: New Zealand


Furniture and Other

2007: 1,340.0
2012: 2,195.3
2017: 2,364.0
Five-year growth CAGR: 1.5%
Most imports – origin: China
Most exports – destination: US


Total Manufacturing

2007: 102,590.1
2012: 90,964.4
2017: 101,659.6
Five-year growth CAGR: 2.2%

Ban on Australian beef exports lifted

China has lifted the suspension of red meat imports from six Australian meat-processing facilities.

The facilities affected by the ban were Australian Country Choice, Thomas Foods International, Kilcoy Pastoral Company, JBS Beef City, Primo JBS and Northern Co-operative Meat Company.

According to the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment  Steve Ciobo, these businesses account for around 30 percent of Australia’s beef exports to China, can now resume exporting.

“I also acknowledge the hard work of Barnaby Joyce and the Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Craig Laundy, in representing the importance of this industry to Australia’s economy and the quality of the product made available for Chinese consumers,” Ciobo said in a statement .

“Australia has an excellent relationship with China, our largest trading partner. The goodwill generated by the success of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) assisted in resolving this matter quickly.”

He added that Australia respects the Chinese Government’s strong commitment to food safety for their consumers and understand the importance of meeting their import requirements.

 

Australia’s beef exports to China were worth $670 million in 2016.

Victorian food and fibre exports hit record high

Victoria has set a new record with food and fibre exports reaching $12.8 billion – the biggest total in the state’s history.

According to the 2016-17 Food and Fibre Export Performance Report released today, Victoria accounts for 25 per cent of Australia’s food and fibre exports, despite taking up just 3 per cent of the country’s land mass.

A key strength of the Victorian food and fibre sector is its diversity and reputation for producing high quality, clean and healthy food for key export regions such as Asia.

In 2016-17, Victoria accounted for 79 per cent of Australia’s dairy exports, 55 per cent of wool exports, 46 per cent of horticultural exports and 38 per cent of prepared food exports.

Prepared foods had a strong year, earning $1.5 billion, increasing by $164 million or 12 per cent last financial year.

Grains also had an excellent year, with an all-time record grain harvest, and exports valued at $1.8 billion in 2016-17 – an increase of $839 million or 87 per cent on the previous financial year.

“The resilience and ingenuity of our primary producers and food manufacturers continues to make Victoria the top food and fibre exporting state in the nation,” said Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford.

“I congratulate all our food and fibre producers, manufacturers and exporters for their hard work and significant contribution to the state of Victoria.”

NZ Tamarillo products heading to US

New Zealand’s Tamarillo Co-operative has signed a major deal with a distributor allowing Tamarillo Marinade and Tamarillo Vinegar to be sold in the US and Canada.

The first of shipment of tamarillo pulp has left Whangarei for US-based food producer and distributor, Serious Foodie. Tamarillos are processed into pulp and vinegar concentrate in New Zealand and exported to Serious Foodie in bulk. Florida-based Serious Foodie then makes the pulp into Tamarillo Marinade and Tamarillo Vinegar.

Serious Foodie specialises in developing gourmet products for the home chef.

It introduced Tamarillo Marinade and Tamarillo Vinegar at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York at the end of June, receiving great feedback and so has started production. Serious Foodie Tamarillo Marinade and Tamarillo Vinegar will sell online, at US farmers’ markets and be distributed to gourmet supermarkets and stores across the US and Canada.

New Zealand Tamarillo Co-operative Director and Manager, Robin Nitschke said, “It was a rewarding achievement after working on the deal for two and a half years.”

Serious Foodie first contacted the co-operative more than two years ago interested in expanding its range of high-end specialty products. It believed an exotic fruit like the tamarillo would appeal to their discerning customers.

As well as the US deal, the Co-operative is working on other export opportunities. Robin Nitschke said vinaigrette and relish will shortly be shipped to Brisbane and negotiations are under way for vinaigrette concentrate to be introduced to European and Asian markets in a variety of products.

Robin Nitschke, with five other grower members, established the Tamarillo Co-operative three years ago. “Our aim is to have more influence at the beginning of the supply chain by channeling fruit through one merchant and then providing more choices to add value to the fruit at the end of the supply chain,” said Nitschke.

Robin Nitschke said that after gaining recognition in 2016 as finalists in the NZ Food Awards Artisan category, supermarkets, specialty food outlets and food service companies have had good demand for the co-operative’s For the Love of Tams, Tamarillo Relish and For the Love of Tams, Tamarillo Vinegar Dressing.

Australian wine tastings wow in Japan and South Korea

Growing interest in Australian wine has been reflected in the largest ever attendances at the annual Australian Wine Grand Tastings (AGT) held in Tokyo and Seoul last week, in collaboration with the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade).

One of the longest-standing Wine Australia events held globally, the AGT Tokyo, along with the evening consumer event received over 850 guests. Attendance at the trade tasting attendance was up by close to 30 per cent.

Speaking about the Tokyo event, Japan Times columnist, Melinda Joe, said, “The tasting was a fantastic invitation to the world of contemporary Australian wine. In terms of quality and diversity of styles, it seems that there has never been a better time. There were a lot of wines with freshness, poise, and complexity. It was great to see unusual bottles like Smallfry’s orange wine next to elegant Pinot Noir from Bass Phillips.”

In Seoul, the AGT event introduced the trade to some of Australia’s best known varieties as well as emerging varieties and styles.

South Korea is the fourth biggest still wine market in Asia with 3.4 million cases sold in 2016. Australian wine currently ranks sixth in sales behind Chile, Spain, France, the USA and Italy. However Australian wine sales have been growing strongly since the 2014 Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement removed a 15 per cent tariff on Australian wines, levelling the playing field. Australian sales have been outpacing competitor nations since the agreement was introduced.

In its fourth year, the tasting at the JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul included two master classes during the day by wine writer Mike Bennie, and the Australian Wine Research Institute. The event was attended by over 400 members the local wine trade and media, the largest ever at an Australian wine tasting in South Korea.

Austrade Korea’s Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner, Amanda Hodges, said “The tasting event is to raise the awareness of regional and iconic Australian wine in Korea. As a result of last year’s event, there will be three new Australian wine brands available to Korean consumers.”

 

Food businesses among finalists in export awards

Several businesses from within the food and beverage sector have been named finalists in the Premier of QLD’s Export Awards.

The finalists in the Agribusiness category are AGT Foods Australia, Australian Country Choice, BNY Trading, and CJ Nutracon.

Elsewhere in the finalists list, soft serve ice cream maker Frosty Boy Australia made the cut in both the Business Services and Manufacturing categories, while AGT Foods Australia is a finalist in the Regional Exporter category.

The Export Council of Australia would like to congratulate the finalists announced for the 2017 Premier of Queensland’s Export Awards. As exporters from across the state compete for 12 industry categories the program celebrates business excellence in international trade.

“The QLD Export Awards are about rewarding businesses that have shown a commitment and determination to grow their global business and who, against adversity, seek new innovative ways to compete on the international stage,” said Chief Executive Officer for the Export Council of Australia (ECA) Lisa McAuley.

“The competition is extremely tough and we are thrilled to see a number of new names recognised for their tremendous efforts. It’s fantastic to also see the diversity of the companies that entered the awards this year.

As Australia enters negotiations over a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Pacific Alliance, an excellent opportunity emerges to place these countries top-of-mind among Australian companies evaluating new market and diversification opportunities.

These negations come at an opportune moment given numerous positive developments in the Australia- Latin America relationship. We look forward to a great event that recognises our QLD champions and looks at the new growth opportunities for the state this in this important region,” said McAuley.

The awards ceremony will be held on Thursday 19 October at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre Southbank with both the Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk MP, Premier of Queensland, Minister for the Arts and the Honourable Curtis Pitt, Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Trade & Investment as guests of honour.

Simplifying agricultural export legislation to improve trade​

Exporters in new and emerging industries and those in established ones will benefit from simplified agricultural export legislation, now released for public consultation, making the regulations easier to follow to save exporters time and money.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the Coalition Government was cutting red tape to improve trade, create more efficient export procedures, and limit the costs of doing business and to ensure agricultural goods aren’t delayed for export.

“While the existing legislation has worked well for 35 years, input to a review undertaken by the Coalition Government showed there is scope for it to be modernised to enable exporters to seize future opportunities,” Minister Joyce said.

“The new export legislation will consolidate the existing web of regulation into a single Export Control Bill and supporting delegated legislation.

“We’re aiming to make the rules for exporting easier to understand, use and comply with, while maintaining the level of regulatory oversight expected by our trading partners.”

Australian Alpaca Association President, Ian Frith, said the simplified export legislation will provide an important boost to producers in new and emerging industries.

“By making the rules and requirements easier to follow new and emerging industries, such as those in the alpaca industry, will have increased confidence to pursue new, and potentially highly lucrative, export opportunities,” Mr Frith said.

John Langbridge, Industry and Corporate Affairs Manager at Teys Australia, Australia’s second largest meat processor and exporter, said the legislation must be flexible and responsive to change in market access requirements.

“The legislation must enable the rapid uptake of approved emerging technologies, such as the use of robotics, x-ray, ultra sound, hyperspectral imaging, thermal imaging and barcoding, to grow and support meat exports in the future,” Mr Langbridge said.

The consultation period on the exposure draft runs for 60 days.

The improved legislation will be implemented around 1 April 2020, when much of the existing framework is due to expire.

Cold chain technology to support Australian food exports

The global markets for technology, beauty and food products are growing at an impressive rate, with consumers in all corners of the globe expecting availability, prompt delivery, and a visible supply chain.

Food is perhaps the most challenging export for any country, as it necessitates precise delivery timings, strict customs compliance and sophisticated and reliable technology to maintain freshness and prevent contamination – with no margin for error.

For Australia to maintain food export compliance as global demand grows, its logistics industry will soon need to invest in the development of cold-chain technology, an industry expert told Prime Creative Media.

“As Australian food exports reach further afield, it’s crucial that the cold-chain technology used during transport can be trusted to maintain freshness, consistently,” said a representative of logistics technology manufacturer FEMC Australia.

According to the expert, improving technology will be increasingly important for transporting perishable items to countries with immature cold chains.

“While the Australian cold chain is robust – a necessity given the tough climate – many countries importing its goods do not have the technology required to guarantee safe delivery,” she added.

The representative noted that by expanding into new markets, Australian exporters have the opportunity to further their reputation for quality, but the health implications of substandard cold storage through the supply chain could put this at risk.

Trade agreements with emerging markets will compound the issue of cold-chain compliance, she said.

“Initiatives by the Australian and world governments, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and recent free-trade agreements, highlight the fact that the importance of geographical borders is diminishing in the face of global demand,” the FEMC expert noted.

“Quality perishable goods are integral to Australia’s global import value proposition, so cold chain logistics technology needs to grow alongside the industry.”

Western Australian apples heading to Hong Kong

Hong Kong consumers will get a taste of the Southern Forests with a shipment of Granny Smith apples scheduled to arrive following dispatch from Manjimup via Fremantle this morning.

The  container holds 1200 Genuinely Southern Forests branded cartons, with majority of the 90,000 apples also carrying the Genuinely Southern Forests labels, a key selling point to the order request.

Executive Chairman of the Southern Forests Food Council Bevan Eatts said the Food Council, and in particular John Kilrain, had worked extremely hard with its members to consolidate the order request with a number of growers supplying fruit of all sizes.

“We have been undertaking export development discussions for the past couple of years and through our export partnership with Allstates Farms coming to fruition, the Food Council now has the ability to export a variety of Southern Forests produce, including these apples, to international markets,” said Eatts.

The Southern Forests provides 50% of Western Australia’s total apple production. With domestic apple pricing this season at an unsustainable price point for growers, the shipment is a significant achievement for the region.

“This order should give growers confidence in the fact that export opportunities do exist. The Food Council is in the unique position to have the ability to work with buyer requests as they are presented, and our partnership with Allstates Farms provides the avenue to supply these requests.” said  Eatts.

The Southern Forests region includes the towns of Manjimup, Pemberton, Northcliffe and Walpole resulting in an extensive range of over 50 fruits and vegetables grown by member producers with variety of produce including apples, avocados, brassica, stone fruit and potatoes in addition to value added grocery products including honey, wine, green tea and sparkling juices.

A Committee of Management, together with Southern Forest Food Council staff, bring the region’s world- class and varied produce to domestic and overseas markets; and play an integral role in unifying the area’s diverse producers to strengthen economic performance, attract further investment, create sustainable employment and promote regional pride.

Bellamy’s China export licence restored

The shares of infant formula makers Bellamy’s have jumped by about 10 per cent, following the decision of Chinese authorities to lift a ban on products from one of the company’s canning facilities in Victoria.

The company said in a statement that the license for the recently-acquired Camperdown Powder facility has been restored.

Bellamy’s said it had responded to the requests on behalf of the CNCA (Certification Accreditation Administration of the People’s Republic of China) and worked with the assistance of Australian officials through the process as stipulated by the CNCA.

“We are pleased that Camperdown’s suspended registration has today been lifted,” said Bellamy’s CEO Andrew Cohen.

“Bellamy’s appreciates the important role that the CNCA has in protecting Chinese consumers and the support of the Australia trade officials in assisting us throughout this process.”

 

Australian horticulture set for biggest ever export push

Hort Innovation has launched the biggest ever trade push in Australian horticulture’s history with an ambitious plan to significantly grow exports by 2025.

Announced by Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, a key component of the initiative is the new ‘Taste Australia’ in-market export activity, which will help promote premium Australian produce in current and future markets. The plan will also see more research and development to grow market access, and increased support for current and aspiring exporters.

“We’re an exporting nation. We’re never going to get anywhere selling to ourselves so it’s incredibly important that we actually start looking for export markets to make sure that the opportunities that horticulture can deliver for Australia are actually able to be delivered,” said Ruston.

Hort Innovation chair Selwyn Snell said the potential for growth is significant given Australia’s solid reputation for producing high-quality produce, wide untapped opportunities, and the industry’s appetite for trade.

“Australia is known for delivering high-end produce that has undergone the most rigorous food safety inspections along all stages of the supply chain,” he said. “We want to build upon that. The first way we are doing this is through Taste Australia, which tells the unique story of Australian horticulture products.”

Developed in consultation with growers, State and Federal Government agencies and other trade stakeholders, Taste Australia will be launched with more than 200 industry representatives at Asia Fruit Logistica in Hong Kong next month. That will kick off a six-month tour of trade show events in Dubai, Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo.

Snell said this year, the organisation will invest 40 per cent more on trade show efforts than last year and growers and industry representative participation in overseas promotional activities will rise by 30 per cent.

Back home in Australia, Hort Innovation is investing more than $10.5M in trade-related R&D activities over the next year and is set to boost its investment across areas such as biosecurity, pre-export produce treatments, and supply chain efficiencies.

Ed Fagan from Mulyan Farms, a former farmer of the Year and grower who utilises R&D to support his export activities, was present at the launch.

“We’ve been calling for market access for a long time into the Asian and European markets and finally the pieces are coming together,” he said.

According to Fagan, things like free trade agreements and infrastructure investment are good news for farmers. “We’re finally getting numerous bits and pieces coming together so it means a company like ours is able to export in a much easier fashion then we have before,” he said.

Toby Smith from Olam Almonds, Anne Ruston, Meg Mason from Fresh Produce Group, Selwyn Snell Hort Innovation Chair, Brett Jackson Sevenfields, and Ed Fagan Mulyan Farms.

Toby Smith from Olam Almonds; Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Anne Ruston; Meg Mason from Fresh Produce Group; Selwyn Snell, Chair of Hort Innovation; Brett Jackson from Sevenfields; and Ed Fagan from Mulyan Farms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dawine to sell Vasse Felix wines from Margaret River online in China

Dawine, a distributor of wine to the fast-growing Chinese market, has received approval to sell the acclaimed Vasse Felix wines from Margaret River on Tmall, an online portal in China.

Dawine said in a statement it will sell the wines on Tmall’s online store, via Vasse Felix’s existing distribution channels in China (Torres China).

“We are excited to offer our Chinese retail customers the highly valued Vasse Felixfull range of wines via our Tmall and WeChat stores, as wwell as through our website and app. Vasse Felix is a premium brand and perfectly matches Dawine’s philosophy of only presenting the best examples of wines from the world’s most famous regions,” said Piers Lewis, Exectutice Chairman of Dawine.

Established in 1967, Vasse Felix is Margaret River’s founding wine Estate. As its primary focus, the winery makes premium Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, as well as Shiraz and Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends.

All wines are estate-grown in Vasse Felix’s four Margaret River vineyards then estate-made and bottled within its own winemaking facility.

 

“Perfection” now just the starting point for Australian fruit and veg

Australian fruit and vegetable growers have been warned by a visiting US horticulture expert that while the quality of their produce is “better than ever before”, the demands of the average consumer now starts at “perfection”.

In Australia this month to meet with local growers, Rabobank’s California-based senior fruit and vegetable analyst Dr Roland Fumasi (pictured) said the list of qualities that buyers were looking for in fresh produce continued to grow and had changed markedly in recent years.

“Consumers now expect the quality of their fruit and veg to be 100 per cent perfect, 100 per cent of the time,” Dr Fumasi said.

“They expect it to taste amazing, look good and to be extremely convenient and they want this all year-round. And that is just the starting point.”

Dr Fumasi said to gain customer loyalty, growers had to appeal to the deep-seated values of consumers.

“When you look at the buying habits of the middle-class consumer, not only do they now want a high-quality product – they are also looking for staunch food safety, transparency regarding production, sustainable farm practices that leave a lighter footprint on the environment and assurance that farmers are looking after their employees.

“And while these consumer demands are increasing, farmers are now also producing their fruits and vegetables in a more complex environment than ever before, with rising labour costs, water issues, changing environmental policies and government red tape.”

With challenge comes opportunity

While acknowledging the challenge of delivering “perfect” produce, Dr Fumasi insists there is a lot of opportunity to be had for farmers intent on meeting these demands.

“While this trend for high-quality, ethically-produced food is most evident in developed markets, it is also increasingly being seen in developing markets,” he said.

“Along with the rise in the global population we are also seeing a massive increase in the world’s middle class, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Within the next 10 years or so, it is predicted that 66 per cent of the world’s middle- class population will live in the Asia-Pacific and it is in this group of people where we see the biggest growth in fresh fruit and vegetable consumption.”

Dr Fumasi concedes that food safety and consistent quality are still the biggest drawcards for Asian consumers willing to pay a premium for Australian produce but that their demands are likely to catch up with western markets very quickly.

“When you look at developing Asia, we are seeing the market catch up at an incredible rate, so it is only a matter of time until there is a major sector of this market that has the same demands as local Australian markets,” he said.

Online shopping drives transparency

According to Dr Fumasi, the retail trends of grocery shoppers in the US have become increasingly fragmented and the same trend is being witnessed in Australia, particularly among millennial buyers.

“The younger generation seem to be very comfortable purchasing from a variety of retail sources including traditional retailers, farmers markets, and value retailers such as Costco and of course buying online,” he said.

“In the US we have grocery websites that have gained good traction because of their reliability, convenience, traceability and for their ability to share background stories on the produce they sell.

“At the ‘click of a button’ not only are you able to select from 20 different tomatoes, but you can also see where they were grown, how they were grown and by whom, along with nutritional information and recipe ideas.

“Customers are also able to leave reviews, so if the product isn’t up to scratch it won’t be long until the negative reviews start pouring in.”

Dr Fumasi said while big retailers were starting to understand the importance of telling the backstory of the produce they sell, it was also up to farmers to be proactive in engaging with their customers.

“Australia has an excellent reputation for producing safe, delicious, attractive produce and that brand equity is a good platform to build a conversation with customers,” he said.

“Being able to be as open and transparent as possible with an audience and giving them an insight to exactly who you are and what you do, will not only gain loyalty for your brand but is likely to reflect positively on the industry as a whole.

“Today’s consumer has an extensive list of demands from producers and the technology to find the information they want at their fingertips, so it is important that the Australian fruit and vegetable industry is proactive in engaging this consumer and telling its story, before someone else does.”

Responsible for analysing the North American fresh fruit and vegetable industries, Dr Fumasi combines a background in agribusiness research with international market development and finance experience in the agriculture industry.

Singapore enters food innovation partnership with South Australia

A food industry collaboration between Singapore and South Australia has been signed to improve access to clean, green produce from Down Under and boost food innovation technologies in both regions.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will enable the South Australia Food Innovation Centre and the Singapore Food Innovation Cluster to work closely together to identify opportunities to build the capability of the food manufacturing industries in both countries.

The agreement between SPRING and Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA) was signed during a South Australian Government food innovation business mission to Singapore this week.

SPRING is an agency under Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry that helps small and medium enterprises (SMEs) grow by assisting in financing, capability development, technology and innovation, and access to markets.

SPRING Singapore Deputy Chief Executive Dr Ted Tan said the collaboration would be across several areas including product development, commercialisation, packaging and technology.

“Singapore SMEs can access new food technologies and processing methods to accelerate the development of innovative products,” Dr Tan said.

“It will also offer a launch pad for Australian companies entering the Asia market, creating win-win partnership opportunities with our SMEs.

“We are looking forward to a fruitful partnership with PIRSA to build complementary capabilities in emerging food innovation areas, including functional foods and food waste reduction.”

PIRSA Deputy Chief Executive Prof Mehdi Doroudi said the MOU would enable South Australia and Singapore to learn from each other’s efforts in food innovation.

“Partnerships such as this MOU support the South Australian Government’s Premium Food and Wine Produced in our Clean Environment and Exported to the World economic priority,” Prof Doroudi said.

Written by Andrew Spence