Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon. Keith Pitt MP, and Federal Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry MP, today met tropical fruit farmers in Central Queensland interested in new market opportunities in Asia - following free trade deals with China, Korea and Japan.
Over the past few years, tropical fruit farmer Ian Groves (Bungundarra) has been trialling various fruit crops from mangoes to lychees that could be exported.
Assistant Minister Pitt said the free trade agreement (FTA) agenda was a key part of the Government's efforts to open up markets abroad, and expand employment opportunities at home.
"The trifecta of FTAs with the key north Asian markets of China, Japan and Korea, have resulted in practical benefits for export products important to Queensland, including in fresh fruit,” Mr Pitt said.
“Mangoes are an important fruit export for Queensland, and the China-Australia FTA has already cut the tariff Australian mangoes face from 15 per cent to 9 per cent. The trade data shows that, in the early part of this year, Chinese imports of fresh Australian mangoes more than doubled compared to the previous growing season. This meant that Australia overtook Thailand as China’s principal supplier of mangoes in the first half of 2016 – a great result.
“Elsewhere, under the Korea-Australia FTA, the 30 per cent tariff which Korea charges on shelled macadamias is down to 12 per cent already. These tariff cuts contributed to a tripling of macadamia exports to Korea in the first half of 2015 compared to 2014, and they’ve maintained that higher export level into the first half of this year.
“And of course, the beef outcomes in these FTAs have been a boon for Queensland - Australia is now the only major global beef exporter that has preferential access into all three of these large north Asian markets, meaning we have a jump on our competitors,” Mr Pitt said.
Ms Landry said the Government is committed to ensuring local businesses engage with the incredible growth that is occurring across the region.
“I asked the Minister here because there were some groups keen to engage on how they can form sustainable and mutually-beneficial relationships with potential customers in China, Japan or Korea,” Ms Landry said.
“This is important to the continued growth of export industries in Central Queensland and Australia more broadly.
“These agreements position us to take advantage of future opportunities in additional markets that may come along as we advance our FTA agenda in our region.”
Assistant Minister Pitt also held discussions with Queensland’s horticulture group Growcom about ways to make the right business connections in Asia to develop new markets for their produce in the future.