Victoria is Australia’s largest exporter of food and fibre products and accounts for 27 per cent of the country’s total exports.
In 2018–19, Victoria’s total food and fibre exports were valued at $14.2 billion. With a target to grow exports to $20 billion per year by 2030, the ability to gain access to new markets and maintain and improve access conditions to existing markets is crucial for the ongoing viability and growth of Victoria’s food and fibre sector.
Australian businesses enjoy equal or better access to many of the world’s fastest growing economies compared to our competitors.
This is due to our:
- expansive network of Free Trade Agreements
- reputation for safe, fresh, high-quality produce
- proximity to Asian markets
- and for Victoria in particular favourable climate and growing conditions.
International demand for premium quality and safe foods is being driven by a fast-growing global population, expanding middle class and changing diets.
To grow and maintain access to international markets, the Victorian agriculture, food and fibre sector must be ready to meet the demands of rapidly changing global markets.
Trade agreements are international treaties that reduce barriers to trade and investment. Australia has established trade agreements with numerous trading partners and has several new agreements under negotiation.
For agriculture, trade agreements generally outline arrangements relating to tariffs and non-tariff measures. However, having a trade agreement in place does not necessarily mean technical market access is granted. This is usually sought through a separate process.
For information on the status of Australia’s FTAs see the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Status of FTA negotiations. For information on agreements in force see the DFAT Free Trade Agreement Portal.
Technical market access
The process for seeking technical market access is based on scientific evidence and determines the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures required to assure the importing country that Australia’s food and fibre products are safe for import.
Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures are applied by importing countries to protect human, animal or plant life from exotic diseases, contaminants or pests.
This can be a straight forward or protracted process. The complexity reflects the nature and level of the food safety or biosecurity risk the importing country might be exposed to and whether regulatory measures are available to address that risk.
Accessing the market
Having trade agreements and access to markets can enhance trade and investment opportunities, however, these alone do not generate or grow exports.
Growth can only occur if commercial parties decide to take advantage of the opportunities to supply these markets. To achieve access, companies may need to meet particular standards such as quality and packaging, sustainability, organic or Halal requirements important to those markets.
With the right information, exporting can have multiple benefits. The whole process can be simplified by understanding your own business goals, intended consumers, potential competitors and importing country requirements. Global Victoria and Austrade can provide advice on getting ready to export.