NEW agricultural counsellors are working to boost opportunities for Australian exporters in the key markets of Vietnam, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, China and Thailand.
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the new counsellors were part of the government’s $30.8 million investment under the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.
They were aimed at giving Australian producers better access to premium overseas markets and tackle technical barriers to trade and expand into emerging markets, while maintaining and strengthening Australia’s position in existing markets.
The counsellors organise and lead discussions, respond to information enquiries and facilitate visits and inspections that progress market access requests. They also work closely with industry, overseas authorities, and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ head office in Canberra.
Overseas agricultural specialists also play a significant role in rectifying any problems with Australian agricultural goods on entry to their foreign destinations.
Mr Joyce said the five key markets were worth about $13.7 billion in agricultural exports in 2014. The government consulted widely with industry in determining which markets to establish these new positions in, he said.
“These new positions will substantially strengthen Australia’s existing overseas agricultural counsellor network in key markets based in Tokyo, Beijing, Seoul, Jakarta, Bangkok, New Delhi, Washington, Rome, Brussels and Dubai, taking the total number of overseas agricultural counsellors from 12 to 17.
“As well, each agricultural counsellor works with support from locally engaged staff.”
Mr Joyce said there are now two new agricultural counsellor positions in Vietnam and Malaysia—two emerging markets with the potential to increase even further in importance for Australian farmers.
“We have also placed an additional counsellor in China, where we exported more than $9 billion worth of agricultural products in 2014–15.
“The team of counsellors in China will work to ensure our farmers can make the most of the China–Australia Free Trade Agreement that will give so many of our producers preferential market access over international competitors,” he said.
“There is now a high level counsellor in Bangkok to strengthen Australian engagement with our ASEAN trading partners.
“And we now have a second counsellor in the Middle East, who will work to get a broad range of products into a number of growing and new markets.”
For more information about the role of agricultural counsellors, visit agriculture.gov.au/market-access-trade/overseas-network.
To find out more about the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper and its key measures, visit agwhitepaper.agriculture.gov.au
Source: Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.