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Australian seafood on the menu in China

Australian seafood on the menu in China article image

Australia’s seafood industry is a big winner from the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement signed this week.

The agreement will see tariffs on rock lobsters and abalone, Australia’s highest value seafood exports, will be progressively reduced to zero over four years.  

“This FTA will help us to be more competitive in the world’s largest seafood market", said Nathan Maxwell McGinn, Rock Lobster and Abalone exporter and Chair of the Seafood Trade Advisory Group (STAG). 

The rock lobster and abalone industries contribute $1.2 billion to Australia’s GDP.

“Through this FTA we are confident that the value of our export market in China will grow significantly,” said Mr McGinn.

“Benefits will be felt immediately as the agreement provides a much needed boost to confidence in the industry in terms of investment. Importantly those benefits will accrue to Australia’s regional and coastal communities where these industries provide an estimated 8500 jobs.”  

Jayne Gallagher, General Manager Trade and Market Development with the Australian Seafood Cooperative Research Centre, said the seafood industry is one of Australia’s secret success stories.

“The industry has been working quietly and consistently spearheading Australia’s reputation in China as a source of premium, high quality food,” said Ms Gallagher.

Level playing field

“With the successful conclusion of the China FTA, the industry will increase its market development efforts and focus on building preference for Australian seafood products.”

Ms Gallagher said Australia would now be able to compete on a level playing field. 

“The winners from the FTA include the consumers in China who will be able to purchase Australia’s premium quality seafood at a more affordable price.”

Wayne Haggar, STAG Deputy Chair commended the Australian government for concluding the negotiations with China. 

“Many people have been working for a long time to achieve improved trading arrangements with China.  It is fantastic to see it come to fruition,” he said.

Ross Hodge, Executive Officer with Australian Southern Rock Lobster Ltd said recent Seafood CRC research had rated China as the number one market to target for future trade.

The research also investigated opportunities in second and third tier cities in China and found that as the supply chain infrastructure improves and consumer incomes increase so does the potential for developing significant markets in those cities.

Stiff competition

“The China FTA will enable exporters of Australian Southern Rock Lobster to leverage from these research findings and work collaboratively to substantially expand our market presence in China,” Mr Hodge said.”

Dean Lisson, Abalone quota owner and diver and Executive Chair of the Abalone Council Australia said that the China FTA will make a real difference. 

“The Australian Wild Abalone program is designed to differentiate and create preference for our product against some stiff competition, said Mr Lisson. “While we have had success with our efforts, the conclusion of the China FTA will provide the platform for us to maintain the momentum and secure the future of our industry as exporters of premium seafood.

*The Seafood Trade Advisory Group (STAG) was formed to investigate and address complex trade and market access issues facing the Australian seafood industry and to support intergovernmental negotiations concerning the export of our premium seafood products.

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