CHINESE consumers are closer to wiping more Australian nectarine juice from their chins after the introduction of new import protocols by both countries.
But a substantial amount of work needs to be done before that scenario materialises.
From January 1, 2017, Australian nectarines will face a reduced tariff of 4 per cent in China, down from 10pc, courtesy of the implementation of the China–Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA).
Further tariff reductions will follow in 2018, with all tariffs on Australian nectarines to be eliminated from January 1, 2019.
The agreed protocols came into effect on Friday, May 20.
Australia currently exports citrus, table grapes, mangoes and cherries to China.
Orchards, packing sheds and export facilities including cold treatment and fumigation facilities will be audited and approved by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources for nectarines to be exported to China.
As part of the compliance growers will have to monitor their orchards for 12 quarantine pests listed in the protocol by a person approved by the department.
Key to the agreement is China’s recognition of the Riverland region in South Australia as fruit fly free, meaning growers in the area are able to export nectarines without the pest management requirements that exist for other commodities.
Until now, Tasmania was the only state in Australia that experienced this fruit fly free status from China.
To secure market access to China, nectarines being exported outside of Tasmania and the Riverland must adhere to stringent fruit fly treatments.
For example, nectarines from Western Australia will need to undergo cold treatment at 2.1°C degrees for 21 days or a combination with methyl bromide.
Nectarines from eastern states can be shipped using cold treatment at 3°C for 18 days or a combination with methyl bromide.
Horticulture Innovation Australia chief executive John Lloyd said the protocol shows never-before-seen levels of confidence from China.