The Australian government has appointed five new agriculture counsellors to boost exports to key markets.
The new counsellors are part of a $30.8 million investment under the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.
The White Paper gives Australian producers better access to premium overseas markets by cutting red tape.
It aims to expand into emerging markets, while maintaining and strengthening Australia’s position in existing markets.
Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said the five new counsellors will be based in Vietnam, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, China and Thailand.
“These are key markets for Australia, worth about $13.7 billion in agricultural exports in 2014,” Mr Joyce said.
Strengthening counsellor network
“These new positions will substantially strengthen Australia’s existing overseas agricultural counsellor network in key markets based in Tokyo, Beijing, Seoul, Jakarta, Bangkok, New Delhi, Washington, Rome, Brussels and Dubai.”
The new appointments take the total number of overseas agricultural counsellors from 12 to 17. Each agricultural counsellor works with support from locally engaged staff.
Mr Joyce said there are now two new agricultural counsellor positions in the emerging markets of Vietnam and Malaysia.
“We have also placed an additional counsellor in China, where we exported more than $9 billion worth of agricultural products in 2014-15,” he said.
Preferential market access
“The team of counsellors in China will work to ensure our farmers can make the most of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement that will give so many of our producers preferential market access over international competitors.
“There is now a high level counsellor in Bangkok to strengthen Australian engagement with our ASEAN trading partners.
“And we now have a second counsellor in the Middle East, who will work to get a broad range of products into a number of growing and new markets.”
The counsellors are part of a stream of measures being delivered under the Agriculture Competitiveness White Paper, released in July last year.
A total of $4 billion will be invested to help improve international trade and boost the productivity of Australia’s agriculture industry.
To find out more about the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper and its key measures, visit agwhitepaper.agriculture.gov.au.