Potato growers win in new trade deal
Australian potato growers are set to benefit from the increasing of trade into Thailand following the removal of tariff volumes and rates. AUSVEG, the industry representative for Australia’s vegetable and potato growers, has welcomed the announcement that two key commitments are now realised under the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), which will improve access for Australian potato exporters into the Thai market.
Thailand has now implemented zero tariffs and removed tariff rate quotas that limited the volume of Australian seed and processing potatoes that could access the lower TAFTA tariff, meaning Australian seed and processing potato exports to Thailand are no longer subject to tariffs or limits on volume.
“Australian potato growers are in a strong position to take advantage of opportunities in Thailand, which is becoming an increasingly important export market for Australian vegetable growers,” says Michael Coote, AUSVEG National Manager – Export Development.
“Thailand is an emerging market for Australian potatoes in particular, with the Asian market currently the second largest importer of Australian potatoes behind South Korea.”
Last year Australia’s global fresh vegetable exports were valued at AUD$299 million. In the 2018/19 financial year, Australian vegetable exports to Thailand were valued at AUD$15 million, following strong growth in the Thai market over the past three years. The top vegetable exports to Thailand are onions, carrots, potatoes, celery and broccoli, and potatoes make up 25 percent of total Australian vegetable exports to Thailand.
“Even in the midst of the current economic climate, demand has continued to be strong for Australian fresh vegetables and potatoes in export markets, with enquiries still coming in from a range of international trading partners,” says Coote.
“Australian potatoes and vegetables enjoy a positive reputation in international markets for quality and reliability of supply. The industry has seen positive export growth in recent years and it is important that we are able to continue to supply these markets during the COVID-19 disruption to maintain this hard-won market share.”