​Media Release

FTAs deliver big benefits for Aussie horticulture and wine exports

8 March 2017

Australia’s horticulture and wine industries continue to deliver strong results for the Australian economy, bolstered by increased exports under free trade deals secured by the Australian Government with China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

Speaking at the ABARES Outlook conference in Canberra today, Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Anne Ruston, said horticulture exports reached record levels of $2.7 billion in 2015–16, and are forecast to continue to increase to $3.3 billion in 2021–22.

“Record horticulture exports are supported by new and improved market access that has seen reductions to tariffs on a number of key horticulture products—increasing the competitiveness of Australian exports,” Minister Ruston said.

“Our horticulture and wine sectors are already showing the benefits of the free-trade deals this government has secured with China, Japan and Korea.

“Wine exports are also forecast to increase by 8 per cent to $2.37 billion in 2016–17, off the back of strong demand from China and Hong-Kong. In fact, in 2016–17 China is expected to overtake the United States as our most valuable wine export market.

“These are exciting results, and we expect to see opportunities for our horticulture and wine industries to continue to grow, as global demand for quality, clean and premium produce increases, and the government maintains its focus on negotiating further trade deals and technical market access improvements.

“However, market access is only one piece of the picture when it comes to realising the big opportunities presented by increasing global demand for agrifood products.

“While our reputation as a reliable supplier of high-quality, safe agricultural exports, and the favourable market access conditions secured by the government will help give our exports an edge, we will nonetheless face stiff competition in global markets.

“As part of today’s session on horticulture and winegrapes, chaired by David Moore of Horticulture Innovation Australia, I was excited to hear views from Emma Germano of Germano Produce, Michael Rocca of Wine Australia, and Thomas Astell-Burt, University of Wollongong about innovative approaches to production and marketing to help position these industries to capitalise on opportunities in markets at home and abroad.

“Innovation will be an important part of the equation when it comes to ensuring our farm businesses can capture opportunities and remain competitive in global markets.

“That is why this government is focused on supporting farm businesses to become more productive and profitable, including by fostering innovation and research and development.

“This government has further strengthened our world-class rural R&D system by delivering on an election commitment to increase rural R&D funding, through the $180.5 million Rural R&D for Profit Programme. This programme is on top of around $700 million the Australian Government already invests in rural R&D each year.”

Minister Ruston said the gross value of horticultural production was forecast to grow from $9.5 billion in 2016–17 to almost $10 billion in 2021–22, while the gross value of wine grape production was forecast to grow from $831 million to $838 million over the same period.

Minister Ruston spoke at ABARES Outlook 2017, being held in Canberra on Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 March. Australia’s leading forum for public and private decision-makers in agriculture, Outlook marks its 47th annual conference this year with expert analysis of innovation in agriculture.