Australia is getting a new legislative framework for agricultural exports on 28 March 2021. Together, the Export Control Act 2020 and Export Control Rules 2021 streamline existing export requirements that were previously across 20 Acts and 40 pieces of legislation.
If you are involved in exporting plants and plant products, the Export Control (Plants and Plant Products) Rules 2021 set out the specific requirements you need to follow. More simply known as the plant rules, they replace the current Plant and Plant Product Orders.
The new legislation is easier to understand and use. It will continue to achieve the same regulatory outcomes that are expected by Australia’s trading partners.
The new legislation looks different, but it is not designed to add regulatory burden or change how industry do business in the short term. In the longer term it will support our plant industries to innovate and pursue opportunities for efficiency.
For export businesses, the changeover should be simple. All existing legislative approvals will automatically transition when the new legislation begins.
This includes accredited properties, registered establishments, authorised officer appointments, export permits, government certificates (such as phytosanitary certificates), product inspection records, treatment supervision records, container approvals and bulk vessel approvals.
There are some key changes you should be aware of as we transition to the new legislation. These include updates to policy, IT systems and forms.
For more information: ausveg.com.au
Source : https://www.freshplaza.com/
Publication date: Tue 16 Mar 2021
A container ship blocking the Suez Canal like a "beached whale" may take weeks to free, the salvage company says, as officials stop all ships from entering the waterway.
The 400 metre Ever Given is blocking transit in both directions through one of the world's busiest shipping channels for oil and grain and other trade linking Asia and Europe.
The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said eight tugs were working to move the vessel, which got stuck diagonally across the single-lane southern stretch of the canal on Tuesday morning (local time) amid high winds and a dust storm.
Author: ABC analyst Casey Briggs
Hort Connections 2021 is the joint industry conference and Trade Show co-produced by AUSVEG and PMA Australia-New Zealand Limited (PMA A-NZ) to be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre 7-9 June 2021. The event theme is Celebrating the international year of fruits and vegetables, the event will celebrate the vital role that horticulture has to play in our economic, health and nutritional wellbeing.
This year has been particularly challenging for producers to find workers.
COVID-19 restrictions have caused a collapse in the number of working holiday visa holders — the backpacking workforce crucial to the agricultural industry.
Working holiday visas have fallen from about 140,000 at the end of 2019 to about 50,000 now.
The National Farmers Federation (NFF) estimates there will be a shortage of 26,000 agricultural workers when demand peaks around March.
This inspired university Aviva White, who volunteers at the Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project (BASP) in Melbourne.
"We noticed a lot of coverage within the media about huge labour shortages in the agriculture industry, that there was lots of fruit to be picked and lots of jobs on farms available," she said.
That led to a collaboration with Regional Australians for Refugees (RAR), who heard about jobs going at Koala Cherries in Yarck.
Source : https://www.abc.net.au/
Author: Norman Hermant
Joint media release with:
The Hon Scott Morrison MP, Prime Minister
15 November 2020
Australian farmers and businesses are set to benefit from better export opportunities with the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement between Australia and 14 other Indo-Pacific countries.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the signing of this long-awaited agreement signalled our region’s shared commitment to open trade and investment, despite the challenges of COVID-19.
“Our trade policy is all about supporting Australian jobs, boosting export opportunities and ensuring an open region with even stronger supply chains. RCEP builds on our trade successes and is good news for Australian businesses,” Prime Minister Morrison said.
“With one in five Australian jobs reliant on trade, the RCEP Agreement will be crucial as Australia and the region begin to rebuild from the COVID‑19 pandemic.
“This agreement covers the fastest growing region in the world and, as RCEP economies continue to develop and their middle classes grow, it will open up new doors for Australian farmers, businesses and investors.”
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said RCEP would be the world’s largest free trade agreement and would improve export opportunities for Australian farmers and businesses, especially in the services sector.
“This deal will further integrate Australian exporters into a booming part of the globe, with RCEP countries making up nearly 30 per cent of world GDP and the world´s population,” Minister Birmingham said.
“RCEP has been driven by the ten ASEAN nations, who collectively constitute Australia’s second largest two-way trading partner and have successfully brought Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea into this regional trading block with them.
“This agreement may have taken eight years to negotiate but it could not have come at a more important time given the scale of global economic and trade uncertainty.
“Economic cooperation of this scale sends a strong signal that our region is committed to the principles of open trade for the post COVID-19 recovery, just as we advanced them during the previous years of strong economic growth.
“Greater openness within our region, as well as the greater integration of value chains and more common rules of origin which this deal delivers, will make it easier for Australian businesses and investors to operate throughout our region, helping Australia to continue to grow our exports.
“There are particular gains for Australian providers within the financial services sector, education, health, engineering and other professional services, who can become better integrated within the region and have more access within RCEP countries.
“Australia is committed to fully ratifying RCEP as soon as possible so Australian farmers, businesses and investors can start to access the benefits of this agreement. It will also be an inclusive agreement, with the door open for others, especially India, to join if and when they are ready.”
Australia will also commit $46 million to provide technical assistance and capacity building to help eligible ASEAN countries implement their RCEP commitments, ensuring RCEP delivers on its full potential.
When finalised, the main benefits for Australia will be:
The 2019/20 trade data for Australian fresh fruit and vegetable exports is now in; with combined fruit and vegetable exports reaching a total of 762,840 tonnes (up 4.1 per cent) valued at $1.84 billion. This result is a record breaker for the seventh consecutive year and was buoyed by strong outcomes for fruit exports at 547,137 tonnes (up 9.5 percent from 2018/19) and helped buffer a 7.4 per cent volume reduction in vegetable exports over the same time period.
Across fresh fruit, China remains the most prominent export market destination by both volume and value (156,372 tonnes; $536.5 million). However, export volume growth has eased from the substantial increases seen in previous years when strong gains in table grape and citrus exports coincided with new and/or improved market access conditions for stonefruit.
Japan has slid into the number two market for Australian fresh fruit exports by both value and volume (59,655 tonnes; $132.6 million), edging out Hong Kong which eased 4 and 4.8 per cent respectively; a reduction contributed by increased direct trade to China. Overall fruit export volumes to Japan increased by 9 per cent during 2019/20, with melon exports continuing to rise since entering the market in 2016. Singapore and Indonesia round out the top 5 markets for Australian fresh fruit exports, with Indonesia recording a 23 per cent decrease in volume driven by challenges with import licensing on table grape exports to this market.
Full year trade results for fresh vegetable exports indicate a 7.4 per cent easing in volume to 215,700 tonnes, however value remained steadier at $290 million; 3 per cent down from the previous year. Singapore remains the leading market by value (at $52.4 million), and second largest by volume after the United Arab Emirates. Of all fresh vegetable exports to Singapore, carrots accounted for around 48 per cent by volume at 13,500 tonnes and remain relatively steady compared to export volumes from previous years. Pumpkins lifted 24 per cent by volume, while broccoli exports to Singapore declined 30 per cent, mainly driven by challenging production conditions in 2019 and Covid-19 supply chain disruptions in 2020. The United Arab Emirates, Australia’s largest fresh vegetable export market by volume remained relatively steady at 36,000 tonnes at $34.2 million. Onions to the UAE lifted to 3,500 tonnes, a 78 per cent increase from 2018/19, with carrots continuing to contribute more than 80 per cent of all Australian fresh vegetable exports to the UAE.
The above trade results for 2019/20 would not be complete without a brief commentary on Covid-19 impacts on fresh horticultural exports. The data outcomes reported above only partly reflect Covid-19 disruptions. Various commodity groups are affected differently, and impacts shift as the landscape changes and seasons progress. As commented on previously, and to restate what is well known within industry, supply chain disruptions globally have created a challenging environment for fresh horticultural exporters and importers. However, a unifying shift towards coordination across horticultural industry bodies, supply chain participants, and Federal and State Governments has placed Australian exporters in good stead to optimise and expand on available opportunities to counter these ongoing challenges. The lessons and solutions we apply today will support and refine how we conduct business tomorrow, and ultimately provide a stronger and more resilient horticultural export industry in years to come.
The Australian Horticultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association is looking forward to holding the next Industry Forum in early 2021. The Industry Forum is designed to connect members, update industry on the state of the global market and hear directly from Australian Government representatives involved in horticulture trade. Previous years have attracted leading decision-makers involved in Australia’s international fresh produce trade with vibrant discussions covering key issues facing the sector. The Industry Forum is open to members and non-members alike. More information will be provided once details are finalised.
Source: Brisbane Markets – October 2020
A July 1 start date for new export fee price hikes of more than 40 per cent has been scrapped as the Federal Government diverts its attention to COVID-19.
THE introduction of a raft of new export fees and charges for Australia’s fresh produce sector due to come into effect next month have been delayed indefinitely.
The Department of Agriculture had flagged July 1 for the introduction of new export costs for the horticulture industry.
It would have seen an average increase of 44 per cent across all fees and levies, with some charges to increase by 277 per cent.
A Department of Agriculture spokesman said because industry consultation planned for March was unable to go ahead due to COVID-19 restrictions, “we no longer expect changes to the current charges from July 1, 2020. We are monitoring the situation and will provide an update … once the next steps have been determined.”
The Department of Agriculture has been working on a new cost-recovery model for export certification services since 2015 after operating at a multimillion-dollar deficit for a number of years.
However prominent industry bodies, including the Australian Horitcultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association and AusVeg, have described the proposed model as a step too far, with grievances including an expanded cost recovery base – including $182,000 to subsidise a network of counsellors to assist during trade disruptions – and the disproportionate level of cost recovery comparative to other government departments.
If the proposed model was adopted, 48 per cent of the Department of Agriculture’s costs would be paid for by farmers and exporters, compared to the Department of Trade, where 10 per cent of its costs were funded by industry, or the Department of Industry and Science, where 15 per cent of its costs were paid for by industry.
AHEIA chief executive Andrea Magiafoglou said fruit, vegetable and flower exporters were already grappling with changes wrought by COVID-19, “to introduce high fees at this time would be very unwelcome”.
Source: The Weekly Times
Author: ALEXANDRA LASKIE
Australia's peak horticulture export body has called on the Federal Government to reconsider plans to increase the costs of export certification services.
Eleven industry signatories, comprising key industry representative bodies from exporting horticultural industries and members of the Department’s Horticulture Export Industry Consultative Committee were united to oppose the substantial increases to export certification in a joint submission to the Department of Agriculture (DoA). The Australian Horticultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association (AHEIA) has united with other horticultural industry bodies to oppose these changes.
"The cost increases, of over 40 per cent for export certification services which are proposed by the Department of Agriculture in the Cost Recovery Implementation Statement Plant Exports Certification 2019-20 (CRIS), are unmanageable for the horticulture industries," AHEIA CEO Andréa Magiafoglou said. "Australian horticulture is one of the least subsidised in the OECD and horticultural exporters operate in a high-cost environment influenced by labour challenges, escalating water costs and supply chain pathways overlaid by security requirements."
The changes follow public consultation with industry that closed on 31 January 2020, but Ms Magiafoglou says it comes at a time where farmers and exporters are also facing the challenges of ongoing drought and bushfires impacting key production areas.
"The proposed changes will increase the cost of compliance by over 40 per cent and will critically impact Australia’s competitiveness and reduce export growth," she said. "We call upon the Minister for Agriculture to support the horticulture industry by not proceeding with the proposed increases to export certification. "The AHEIA understands the need for export certification requirements, as well as the need to fund the biosecurity framework to protect Australia’s borders. The AHEIA also recognises the need for the government to recover the cost of delivering these services – as long as they can be provided efficiently and charged at competitive rates."
She added: "The DoA currently recovers 48 per cent of its budget from Australian farmers and exporters which is excessive and inconsistent with other similar departments in Australia and internationally – Austrade recovers 10 per cent of its $245 million budget; the Department of Industry, Innovation & Science recovers 15 per cent of a total $508 million; and the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries recovers only 29 per cent of its total NZ$715 million budget."
The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment told FreshPlaza it is reviewing cost recovery arrangements for food and plant export certification, to ensure export certification services are sustainably funded.
"It also supports Australia’s reputation as a safe, reliable supplier of high-quality food and plant products," a departmental spokesperson said. "Export fees and charges have not been revised since 2015. Biosecurity and export certification fees and charges must be adjusted to address the actual cost of delivering regulatory activities. This will ensure the exports certification system remains fit for purpose and able to support Australia’s agricultural exports."
Among the recommendations, the AHEIA has called on the Minister for Agriculture to not proceed with implementing the proposed increase in the fees and levies in the Cost Recovery Implementation Statement Plant Exports Certification 2019-20, and the Commonwealth budget allocation be increased to ensure that sufficient funding is provided to support policy development for the agriculture sector in the future.
"DoA must separate all policy functions from cost recovery to ensure integrity in the development of policy, the appropriate allocation of policy resources to Government priorities and removal of the cost on the industry for policy development," Ms Magiafoglou said. "Industry is calling on the Commonwealth Government budget allocation to reflect the Prime Minister’s stated objective of agriculture becoming a $100 billion industry by 2030, and ensure that sufficient funding is provided to support the policy development for the agriculture sector. Implementing the proposed cost recovery model now will pre-empt the Government’s agriculture strategy and limit the future growth of Australian agriculture."
For more information
Australian Horticultural Exporters and Importers Association
Publication date: Mon 24 Feb 2020
Author: Matt Russell
Australian fresh produce exporters say proposed new export fees would “cripple” the growth of Australia’s fruit, vegetable and nut exports.
AUSTRALIA’S fresh produce industry has rejected a revamped Federal Government program overseeing export fees and charges, warning price hikes of more than 40 per cent for some services would render Australian produce globally uncompetitive.
The nation’s notoriously fragmented horticulture industry has made a united call for the Department of Agriculture to scrap its two proposed options for export fees and charges that would see the Department recover almost half of its entire annual budget from Australian farmers and exporters.
The Department of Agriculture has been working on a revised cost-recovery model for export certification services since 2015 after operating at a deficit for a number of years.
The latest iteration released last month proposes two models that would each raise $12.2 million from levies and fees-for-services, with fee hikes of 44-277 per cent.
The amount raised covers a wider cost base than the current model, with an additional $1.53 million included to fund new enforcement activities, scientific and technical advice and an overseas counsellor network.
AusVeg public affairs manager Tyson Cattle described both options as “unmanageable for the vegetable and horticultural industries”.
“We understand the need for export certification requirements, as well as the need to fund the biosecurity framework to protect Australia’s borders … as long as they can be provided efficiently and charged at competitive rates,” Mr Cattle said. “The difficult conditions faced by the horticulture industry currently, including the worst drought in decades, and bushfires affecting production regions and freight of produce to market, make these cost increases especially hard for growers to absorb and remain competitive.”
Australian Horticultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association’s chief executive Andrea Magiafoglou said cost recovery in agriculture has extended beyond fee for service into cost recovery for policy development.
“Australian horticulture is one of the least subsidised in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and horticultural exporters operate in a high-cost environment influenced by labour challenges, escalating water costs and supply chain pathways overlaid by security requirements,” Ms Magiafoglou said.
An Agriculture Department spokesman said fees and export arrangements needed to increase to cover the cost of delivering regulatory activities.
Source: LEXANDRA LASKIE, The Weekly Times
February 12, 2020
Australian fruit exports to China are predicted to take a hit as fears of coronavirus’ spread reduce flights and stymie Chinese trade.
AUSTRALIAN horticulture exporters are bracing for a hit to trade as fears of novel coronavirus’ spread slow orders from Chinese importers as cities there close down and shoppers stay home.
The fallout from the rapidly spreading virus is predicted to hit exporters who sell to Australia’s biggest trading partner in coming weeks.
Australian Horticultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association chief executive Andrea Magiafoglou said many exporters were already looking for alternative markets to sell their produce. “We have some exporters who have a lack of orders (from China) coming through, and airfreight flights have been reduced,” she said.
“One of our main concerns is the logistics of moving products around once they do arrive in China.”
Qantas will suspend direct flights to mainland China from February 9, while the Department of Foreign Affairs has revised its travel advice for China to “do not travel” as cases of the deadly virus climb.
Last week the Department of Health warned Australians to avoid contact with wild or farm animals to help prevent the spread of the virus. If has since retracted the advice, with a spokesperson telling The Weekly Times there was currently no evidence that livestock or companion animals such as dogs and cats could be infected.
“However it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with animals,” the spokesperson said.
Coronavirus is believed to have started in a food market that sells meat, poultry and fish as well as Chinese delicacies such as live reptiles and wild game, in Wuhan, in early December.
Scientists have suggested the most likely initial host of the infectious disease was bats, and potentially mirroring the spread of SARS — the disease it is so closely resembles — from bats to Asian palm civets, a wild animal bred in China for consumption.
Australia’s Department of Agriculture has continued to allay fears. “While this virus seems to have emerged from an unknown animal source in China, it is now spreading from person-to-person, and contact with people is the main route of infection,” a spokesperson said.
Source: ALEXANDRA LASKIE, The Weekly Times - February 4, 2020
Prices of some exporting fees for fruit, vegetable, nut and flower could almost triple under a proposed government scheme.
A FEDERAL Government plan to raise export costs for fruit, vegetables, nuts and flowers is now more than two years behind schedule, with the latest iteration attracting industry backlash over a near tripling of some prices and the inclusion of new charges.
Mounting pressure from horticulture bodies has led the Department of Agriculture to extend its deadline for public consultation on a new horticulture export scheme to early January. The first draft was released in 2015.
The extension will allow the group — tipped to include at least eight of the nation’s biggest horticultural associations — to craft a joint submission calling for a complete reworking of the Government’s export cost-recovery arrangements.
The proposed model would see the exporter levy increase 275 per cent, the cost of a phytosanitary certificate jump from $36 to $115 and registration fees to rise 47 per cent.
New costs announced in the 2018-19 Federal Budget would cover scientific and technical advice, support for detained consignments and enforcement activities, adding $1.53 million to the scheme’s cost base.
Australian Horticultural Exporters’ Association chief executive Andréa Magiafoglou said the changes could “critically impact” exporters’ competitiveness.
AusVeg spokesman Tyson Cattle said the peak body for vegetable and potato growers wanted greater transparency.
“We’re not against cost recovery, but we want to make sure it’s fair and equitable,” Mr Cattle said.
“Our view is, given that horticulture is in its infancy in terms of exports, there needs to be some time for the industry to fully mature, so we don’t want any impediments to growth.”
The Government is eager for the proposed model to get ministerial approval so the new fees can be introduced on July 1 next year.
The current scheme is racking up losses of more than $6.3 million.
A Department of Agriculture spokesman said the Government had engaged widely.
“We are seeking to recover the expense of functions that are already being delivered to or on behalf of industry,” he said. “The price increases will ensure the department is sustainably recovering the full cost of the regulation activity.”