21 December 2012
Changes to Australia’s horticultural export arrangements, announced today, will ensure the industry keeps up with a changing global market.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, said export efficiency powers for apple, pear and dried grapes will be removed from 31 January 2013. Powers relating to citrus will be retained until 31 January 2015.
The changes were recommended by an Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) review and were finalised after consultation with industry.
“The current regulatory arrangements have restricted the marketing opportunities for Australian citrus and impacted export volumes and revenue,” Minister Ludwig said.
“Australia’s citrus industry used to be a world leader—we want to make sure our exports remain competitive in this global industry.
“These changes will allow Australian exporters to build direct relationships with retailers in the US and explore new opportunities in this key market.”
The ABARES review was the first in the 10 years the export efficiency powers have operated to consider the powers against the principles of the National Competition Policy.
The review determined the need for change, finding the export efficiency powers did not reflect current trade policy.
“The review involved thorough consultation with the horticulture industry, including the Australian citrus industry which is the only one to make significant use of the export efficiency powers,” Minister Ludwig said.
“After further industry consultation I have agreed to a two-year transition period for the citrus industry, and removed the current single importer arrangement for the export of citrus to the US.
“I thank industry for their cooperation and am confident we’ve achieved the best outcome.”
Minister Ludwig said a new Citrus to US Marketing Program, similar to the Citrus to China Marketing Program, will be established subject to approval of the ACCC.
“The program will set a minimum price paid for citrus destined for the US market and will reassure growers that the changes will not damage returns,” he said.
The underlying provisions to regulate horticultural exports will remain to allow flexibility to address issues that may arise in the future such as ensuring adequate food safety control systems for Australia’s horticulture exports.
The Regulatory Impact Statement will be made available on the Office of Best Practice Regulation website.