Trade facilitators’ funding boosted in budget

Henry Wells, May 9, 2018

NON-TARIFF measures hindering Australia’s agricultural exports will receive extra attention from trade negotiators following welcome funding the Australian Government announced in its Federal Budget last night.

The Government has committed more than A$51.3 million to grow agricultural exports, including funding an extra six agricultural counsellors in key markets and to support successful market access.

The measures include funding of technical and scientific work in support of market access requests.

The agricultural counsellor network, a link through the supply chain from farm to overseas consumer, provides market intelligence and works through trade barriers.

Some services will operate with cost recovery subject to consultation with industry.

“The announcement of $51.3 million funding over four years to tackle non-tariff measures (NTMs) shows the government has paid close attention to the recent NTM report,” GrainGrowers chief executive officer David McKeon said.

“The Australian Government has been very effective in recent years in delivering reduced tariff rates through a variety of free trade agreements. However, the NTM report identifies 54 specific barriers across 15 markets, which are impeding efficient grain trading flows.

“The NTMs include testing and labelling requirements, restrictive import quota restrictions and import licensing permits, and complex sanitary and phytosanitary certification requirements, such as maximum residue limits.”

Working behind the scenes

The joint participation of Graintrade Australia (GTA), GrainGrowers and Grain Industry Market Access Forum (GIMAF) working with government behind the scenes was the first collaboration of its type for the grains industry.

NTMs are barriers to trade and can include quotas on the amount of a commodity which can be exported to a certain country, difficult or expensive testing or complicated labelling.

They make expanding business more difficult.  Each may have been legitimate once, but old regulations need critical review over time.

“They are often opaque and inconsistent, sometimes imposing higher regulatory costs on trade.  Working around them often requires higher input from government,” GrainGrowers trade and economics manager Luke Matthews said.

Sources: Federal Government, GrainGrowers


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