THE federal government has committed to working with industry on tackling non-tariff barriers to Australia’s grain-export trade after an industry report was released today.
Agriculture minister David Littleproud welcomed the release of the government-funded Grains non-tariff measures report led by Grain Trade Australia, GrainGrowers and the Grain Industry Market Access Forum.
Mr Littleproud said he was looking at ways to boost Australia’s tackling of these issues.
“Our grains industry is big business, with 75% of Australia’s grain exported, creating $14.6bn in export revenue in 2016-17,” he said.
“With the successful reduction of tariffs under free trade agreements, we now need to work on reducing barriers besides tariffs, I’m looking at ways to give our 16 agricultural counsellors overseas more grunt as they deal with these issues every day.”
Mr Littleproud said while many non-tariff measures are in place to meet legitimate biosecurity, food safety and consumer information requirements, they can also restrict trade and increase costs.
“Not only do these measures vary across the different commodities, but they range from complicated technical barriers to trade like testing and labelling requirements through to import quota restrictions, import licensing systems and complex sanitary and phytosanitary measures like maximum residue limits,” he said.
“We want our farmers to have the best chance to get the best price for their high quality produce, bringing more money back through the farmgate to keep our regional communities strong.”
“We are committed to working with producers, exporters and importing countries to ensure the trading system is fair and transparent, and will work with industry on their priorities following this report.”
Non-tariff measures can include quotas on the amount of a commodity which can be exported to a certain country, difficult or expensive testing or complicated labelling.