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Fruit Protocols have become trade barriers

Free trade agreements can help with Australian fruit exports, but one of the biggest roadblocks at the moment is phyto-sanitary protocols imposed by Asian countries, Summerfruit Australia says.

GEOFF ADAMS April 22, 2014 3:02am

Nectarines to China are a priority for Summerfruit Australia.


Free trade agreements can help with Australian fruit exports, but one of the biggest roadblocks at the moment is phyto-sanitary protocols imposed by Asian countries, Summerfruit Australia says.

Chief executive officer John Moore recently returned from a trip to Asia as part of the Federal Government’s mission to Japan and China, led by Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

The tour resulted in the announcement of the free trade agreement with Japan.

Mr Moore, who participated in the China leg of the trip, said China was his organisation’s key focus for an overseas market.

He said a survey showed 46 per cent of consumers in China’s largest cities look for imported fruit and beverages.

And China has 110 cities larger than Sydney.

Summerfruit Australia’s top priority was getting access for white flesh nectarines into China, a fruit favoured for health and diet reasons and also popular in the culture as a gift.

Mr Moore spent about five days in China, and has spoken to Chinese officials four times in the past six months pursuing export opportunities.

‘‘This trip was largely about supply chain networks and e-commerce, which is very big in China.’’

Mr Moore said the free trade agreements were ‘‘well and good’’, and the industry supported them but the main issues were meeting phyto-sanitary protocols because of Queensland fruit fly.

He said the industry was working on a process for export which would satisfy China’s requirements, but the industry had already waited for eight years for China.

It was common for other countries to have their own, individual protocols which had to be met.

Asked about other export issues including the exchange rate, Mr Moore said many Australian producers were already successfully exporting to Asian countries and getting good prices.

‘‘If growers can become price makers and not just price takers that changes things and that’s the whole idea for exports.’’

Mr Moore said he was happy with the way Mr Abbott and two other ministers led the delegation and he was sure the outcomes would be beneficial.

Summerfruit Australia represents apricot, nectarine, peach and plum producers with a governing body elected by its members.

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