Australian nectarine growers now have new access to the Chinese market, following the agreement of new import protocols by both countries.
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources First Assistant Secretary, Louise Van Meurs, said successful development of the new protocols reflected strong collaboration between the department, the summerfruit industry and government officials in nectarine producing states such as Victoria and South Australia.
"Today’s announcement is an excellent example of what can be achieved when governments and industry work together to secure access to priority markets,” Ms Van Meurs said.
“China is now Australia’s largest agricultural export market, with total exports in 2015 worth approximately $10.9 billion.
“Access to this market will deliver very practical and commercially viable export opportunities to Australian nectarine producers.”
The implementation of the China–Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) means that from 1 January 2017, Australian nectarines will face a tariff of only 4 per cent in China, down from 10 per cent prior to entry into force of ChAFTA.
Further tariff reductions will follow in 2018, with all tariffs on Australian nectarines to be eliminated from 1 January 2019.
Ms Van Meurs said that one of Australia’s key strengths as an agricultural trading nation was our favourable plant health status, underpinned by a strong biosecurity system.
“Australia already exports a range of fresh fruits to China including citrus, table grapes, mangoes and cherries,” Ms Van Meurs said.
Australian mandarins are now in season. According to a press release from Citrus Australia, Australian growers are expected to produce more than 100,000 tonnes of mandarins throughout the 2016 season.
Judith Damiani, Chief Executive Officer of Citrus Australia, said that as a result of the favorable growing conditions growers are on track this year to deliver an abundant supply of high-quality, great-tasting fruit.
The Australian mandarin season runs from April through to October with more than ten varieties available. Australian growers have high expectations for the Chinese market. “In 2016 there are 60% more citrus farms registered for export to China and we hope to increase supply this season,” Ms. Damiani told Produce Report.
In 2015, mainland China became the third-biggest export market by volume for Australian citrus fruit, up 58% from 2014 to 29,000 tonnes, with a value of 53 million AUD. 28% of the volume is mandarins, mainly the Murcott variety, which is available from June to October and at its peak harvest period in August.
According to Ms. Damiani, the 2016 Australian mandarin crop is of high quality with volumes similar to last year.