Australia’s free trade deals with Japan and Korea have been in force for half a year, but agricultural exports are already up.
Beef, grapes, wine and mangoes have shown the biggest rises in the first six months of 2015.
The reports, from industry and government sources, come as Labor is under pressure to clarify its position on the China Free Trade deal.
Wine exports to South Korea are up 34 per cent in volume and 29 per cent in value, for January to June 2015 to be worth $6.2 million
Wine Australia’s manager of wine intelligence Peter Bailey said growth in wine exports to Japan and South Korea are dramatic.
“Export volumes to Japan have grown 57 per cent in the first six months of this year compared to the same period last year.
“To Korea, volume has grown 34 per cent over the same period, worth $6.2 million.”
A lower Australian dollar has also made Australian wine cheaper”, says Shyam Gattu, Marketing Director of Prosumer Group.
Japan is scaling down the 15 per cent tariff on premium bottled wine over seven years, but has already eliminated the tariff on bulk wine.
“That’s made a significant difference in Japan,” Mr Bailey said.
“Bulk wine exports have grown from 430,000 litres in 2014 for the first six months, to now three million litres in the first six months of this year,” he said.
Even before the free trade agreement comes into force with China, wine exports have grown by 60 per cent.
“Things did slow down in 2013-14 due to the austerity drive, which stopped gift giving, but they have certainly recovered in the last 12 months.”
Horticulture exports to South Korea grew 86 per cent after the Korea free trade deal came into force in December 2014 removing a 24 per cent tariff on cherries.
The tariff on mangoes will be eliminated over 10 years.
Table grapes face a 45 per cent tariff which will be eliminated by 2018, while a 25 per cent tariffs on apples will remain.
Citrus that arrive out of the Korean citrus season will have 30 per cent tariffs removed over five years, but oranges that clash with Korea’s season will continue to attract a 50 per cent tariff.
Citrus and table grapes dominated fruit sales to Japan, with 2,340 tonnes of grapes exported since the FTA was signed with Japan.
Beef exports to Japan have increased 31 per cent in the first six months of 2015.
Lachie Hart of Stockyard Beef, which specializes in meat exports to Japan, said “the market is really heating up in Japan, assisted by the FTA and the lower Australian dollar which has fallen 30 per cent against the US.”
The US port strikes on the west coast of America have also affected the reliability of the US supply to Japan.
The Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said “the tariffs on beef in Japan are now almost 25 per cent lower than for the United States, our biggest competitor in the market.”