Market access is critical for the Australian horticulture industry. Australian growers export approximately $3 billion worth of horticultural commodities annually, accounting for about 25% of Australia’s total production.
Although there has been a general decrease over the last 10 years in tariffs that restrict trade, there has also been a steady emergence of non-tariff measures (NTMs), which can directly impact export markets.
NTMs are requirements that countries apply to traded goods separate to ordinary customs tariffs. They are applied to ensure imported products are safe and healthy for consumers and protect countries from harmful pests and diseases that imported goods could introduce.
For Australian producers and exporters, NTMs are a normal part of doing business. NTMs can lead to benefits from both an import and export perspective, however export markets often experience a decrease in activity as compliance costs rise and exporting becomes less profitable.
To facilitate collaboration between industry and government in addressing NTMs that are unfair or overly costly barriers to trade, RMCG were engaged by Hort Innovation in 2021 to identify and understand the impact of NTMs applied to specific commodities and more broadly across the horticulture industry. We looked at 14 different horticultural commodities across 13 international markets.
To inform the review, data was collated via desktop research, analysis of trade and NTM data sources, and industry consultation.
For the Australian horticulture sectors reviewed, a total of 1,734 NTMs were identified across 13 importing countries. New Zealand imposes the highest number of NTMs (527) followed by Thailand (266), China (145) and South Korea (130).
The table grape, citrus and mango industries are subject to the highest number of NTMs. This is likely due to the fact that these commodities are potential hosts to a number of fruit flies (such as Queensland Fruit Fly and Mediterranean Fruit Fly), and that a number of protocol markets have been developed for these products.
The review identified a range of challenges and barriers associated with NTMs impacting on producers, supply chains and the various horticultural sectors. The impact of these on the Australian horticulture industry include:
RMCG developed recommendations for those involved in the trade of horticultural products based on insights from the consultation process. These are detailed in the project summary available here.
Individual reports were also developed for a range of commodities detailing the key NTMs of significance. These reports can be accessed below:
For further information or to access a copy of the full report please contact Dr Kristen Stirling on 0488 908 416.
This project was managed by Hort Innovation and supported by funding from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.