A Federal Government inquiry has urged the Departments of Agriculture and Trade to involve the horticulture industry in opening up doors to increase export trade.
The report on the inquiry into business use of Free Trade Agreements has been tabled in Federal Parliament making 14 recommendations.
It says “the Department of Agriculture should continue negotiating with trading partners to gain acceptance of the fruit fly-free status of particular regions of mainland Australia in free trade agreements where there is an issue.”
It also recommends “the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade formally involve representatives from Australia’s peak industry bodies, both employer and employee in free trade agreement negotiations.”
Six months after free trade agreements were signed with Japan and Korea, there’s been growth in trade, with horticultural exports to Korea increasing by 86 per cent.
While horticultural exports, particularly nuts, citrus and grapes have grown with lower tariffs to Japan and Korea, other fruit is still locked out of many Asian countries, like Vietnam, which has no protocols for dealing with fruit fly.
Lobby group Voice of Horticulture’s spokesman John Dollison says he’s had successful meetings this week with the new Assistant Agriculture Minister, Senator Anne Ruston.
“She appreciates the need for HIA, Horticulture Innovation Australia to work closely with the grower owned entity because the pairing of the two will set longer term strategic objectives for horticulture from which R&D objectives can be driven, trade and marketing objectives can be driven, etc,” Mr Dollison said.