Media Release

Australian table grapes: the new Seoul food

15 May 2014

The arrival of Australian table grapes in South Korea has marked the opening of another valuable trade market for Australian growers.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said it was an exciting milestone following the finalisation of import conditions with South Korean officials late last year.

"Australia currently exports more than 60 per cent of our agricultural product and we are always looking for ways to expand our market opportunities and to increase the return to our producers," Minister Joyce said.

"Coupled with the recently signed Korea Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA), this is fantastic news for our $200 million a year table grape export industry," Minister Joyce said.

Once KAFTA is ratified, the import tariff for Australian table grapes will drop from 45 per cent to 24 per cent during the months of December to April, and these tariffs will be eliminated over five years.

Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Table Grape Association Inc. (ATGA), Jeff Scott, said that negotiations with Korea had resulted in a commercially viable protocol that Australian industry was very pleased with. Following the initial shipment this season, industry would be looking to take further advantage of this new market in 2015 when hopefully very favourable tariff reductions will come into effect.

"Commencement of this new trade is great news for the Australian table grape industry as access to the Korean market will help our industry continue to grow. We are able to provide high-quality, counter-seasonal product to Korea that is fresh, sweet and tantalisingly tasty," Minister Joyce said.

Minister Joyce said the trade with South Korea is another tangible outcome of our international trade and market access efforts that will help increase returns at the farmgate.

"I am absolutely delighted our industry has been able to take advantage of this new market, in which demand for Australian table grapes will hopefully increase with time," Minister Joyce said.

ATGA Executives are currently in Seoul to launch the trade in Australian table grapes at the Seoul Food 2014 exhibition and in selected supermarkets through in-store promotion. Seoul Food 2014 is the third largest food industry exhibition in Asia – it was opened on 13 May 2014, with an official ceremony where Australia’s Ambassador to the Republic of Korea was handed the scissors for tape-cutting formalities.