MORE than 130 non-tariff trade barriers in 40 key export markets have cost the Australian sheepmeat, beef and goatmeat industries over $1.25 billion in the past year, research has indicated.
It’s the reason why the nation’s red meat industry is tackling non-tariff barriers to trade in key markets including China and the Middle East, through a range of projects that engage industry, government and commercial businesses both in Australia and overseas.
To address this critical issue, a red meat processing Industry Market Access Advisory Committee has been established with representatives from members of the Australian Meat Processor Corporation and the Australian Meat Industry Council.
IMAAC will in turn oversee the strategic direction of a work program for a newly-appointed AMPC trade director with regards to market access priorities.
AMPC chairman Stephen Kelly said the red meat processing industry had taken a ‘strategic and proactive’ decision to dedicate resources to tackling non-tariff barriers to trade.
“Some countries are placing technical market access requirements on imported products. To overcome these challenges, we need to continue to develop scientific solutions and ensure they are effectively communicated,” Mr Kelly said.
“Barriers based on unnecessary animal disease, animal welfare and food safety standards can not only compromise market access but significantly increase compliance costs,” he said.
“The IMAAC will ensure that the project is market-led, innovative and relevant to meat processors.”
The project will largely involve the development of technical submissions which pull together the science that in many cases already exists, or to commission new research into specific areas where intractable issues remain.
Workshops, training sessions and other meetings will be run with officials in countries where barriers exist, to help an understanding of the issues and details associated with new submissions, as well as providing general knowledge of a more practical nature.
Project will educate customers about chilled product
As an example, one project is designed to demonstrate to potential importers in China how to handle chilled meat, given it’s a new and unfamiliar product for this emerging market, as well as walking them through the steps of the supply chain in Australia.
AMPC has appointed Rob Williams as trade director of technical market access to facilitate and coordinate the work of the IMAAC with the whole of industry.
“I am excited to take on this role, to develop and implement strategies and tactics in order to maintain and improve technical market access for Australian red meat,” Mr Williams said. ““China and the Middle East will be the key markets of focus,” he said.
Inaugural chairman of IMAAC, Stockyard Meat Packers’ Lachie Hart, said the peak industry council supported the project’s work through AMPC.
“Exports are vitally important to the red meat industry, and this project will help to achieve results that are in line with our export development agenda,” Mr Hart said.
“It will allow us to better quantify non-tariff barriers to trade through extensive benchmarking and research, and increase efforts to effectively ‘describe our system’ to trading partners.”
“In-country industry (or company based) advocacy activities will be important to ensure effective communication with trading partners, importers, end-users and consumers of Australian meat products so that support for enhancing trade opportunities is developed.”
Some of the key issues to be tackled under the program include:
- Shelf-life of frozen and chilled product
- Restrictions on establishment listing for specific export markets
- Port of entry requirements and port marking complex certification
- Labelling that addresses general and/or specific market requirements
- Document legalisation requirements
- Effective port of entry standards, and
- Greater recognition of Australian standards and systems including export certification, permits and Halal and equivalence in testing and validation activities.
The Australian Meat Processor Corporation is the Rural Research and Development Corporation for the red meat processing industry in Australia. AMPC’s mandate is to provide research, development, extension and marketing services that improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of the sector. Red meat processor levies are strategically invested in programs that deliver a range of benefits for industry and the broader Australian community.
AMPC delivers project outcomes in areas that include process automation and sensing, environment and sustainability, food safety, product integrity and meat science, capability development, marketing and market access. It has and will continue to provide innovation services for this globally competitive industry.