RED meat processors have welcomed a Federal Government commitment to addressing barriers to trade in the global market, but say creative thinking and a whole-of-government approach will be needed to overcome what has been a stubborn and long-term challenge.
The Australian Meat Industry Council’s chief executive officer Patrick Hutchinson says a government action plan, announced this week, is good news, building on the work of industry over many years.
He says AMIC is keen to work with government to ensure that Australia itself does not set unjustified barriers for its own exporters, such as through high cost of regulatory charges for market access negotiations, as well as inspection and certification fees
"Non-tariff barriers to trade (NTBs) are a major concern for AMIC members. By our calculations, the potential for loss of business in the red meat sector due to these barriers runs to more than $3 billion,” Mr Hutchinson said.
"Mature exporters like the meat processing industry have spent a lot of time and effort identifying and reporting NTBs and have been working with government to try to resolve them. What we’ve learned is that there is no easy solution here. Traditional government-to-government negotiations have not yielded significant outcomes to date so its clear that some out of the box thinking is needed."
Mr Hutchinson says the red meat industry, as a producer of a time and temperature sensitive product, is highly exposed to technical barriers to trade. These barriers include export plant accreditation requirements, product shelf-life restrictions and labelling issues.
"We need a concerted and focused effort to address those barriers that make it harder to get our product where it needs to go, quickly and easily," he says.
In 2016, the Harris Report produced for AMIC and Meat and Livestock Australia identified 245 NTBs in Australia’s international red meat markets.
"AMIC has already done a lot of work towards addressing some of these barriers, including establishing standing market crisis management groups for China, Malaysia/Indonesia and the Middle East. We look forward to working closely with government to build on this important groundwork. To make headway, government and industry must work together, closely and with great determination."
AMIC will be seeking periodic reviews with the Federal Government on progress with the action plan and will request an initial review two months from now, in early February.
The story Trade barriers a stubborn problem, say beef exporters first appeared on Farm Online.