10 February 2010
Joint media release
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke
Minister for Trade Simon Crean
Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industries and Water David Llewellyn
Tasmanian cherries will be sharing pride of place at Korean Lunar New Year celebrations, as Tasmanian growers this week begin shipping the first-ever consignments of Australian cherries to the Republic of Korea.
Minister for Trade Simon Crean, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke and Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industries and Water David Llewellyn today welcomed the decision by the Republic of Korea to accept imports of fresh sweet cherries from Tasmania.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke said, “Our Australian cherries have a reputation internationally for being among the best in the world. Pretty soon Korean consumers will be able to experience this first hand.”
Minister for Trade Simon Crean said, "This is an export breakthrough and a major win for Australia and Tasmania."
Achieving market access for Tasmanian cherries is the result of the collective efforts of the Australian and Tasmanian governments, Fruit Growers Tasmania and the Australian horticulture industry— as well as the collaborative efforts of the Republic of Korea government.
“This is an important milestone for Australian horticulture and demonstrates the Rudd Government’s commitment to supporting regional jobs,” Mr Burke said.
The temperate climate in Tasmania lends itself to producing full-flavoured and large cherries—all characteristics cherry connoisseurs seek. Tasmanian industry figures show a production of around 4000 tonnes in 2008–09 and a projected increase to 7000 tonnes by 2011–12.
Mr Crean welcomed the decision and said Australia viewed the Republic of Korea as a very important trading partner, and was looking to further enhance its relationship.
“Australia’s trade with the Republic of Korea is of great strategic importance. It is our third largest export market for goods and services,” Mr Crean said.
“In 2008–09, Australia exported goods and services worth $21.1 billion to the Republic of Korea. And there is considerable goodwill to build on the mutually-beneficial trade relationship between our two countries,” he said.
Australia first requested market access for Tasmanian cherries in 2005 with the assessment being started by Korea in 2007, following the finalisation of access for Australian mangoes into Korea.
In representations to the Australian Government, the Australian horticulture industry has nominated access for Tasmanian cherries as being its number one market access priority for Korea.
According to Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industries and Water, David Llewellyn, Tasmanian cherry growers are delighted with the outcome—and in particular Korea’s decision to import cherries without fumigation.
“These import conditions essentially mirror the current conditions for cherries into Japan, making it easier for Australian exporters to get top quality produce into both markets,” Mr Llewellyn said.
The Republic of Korea government will now move on to considering market access for Australian table grapes as our horticulture industry’s next priority.