Australian food industry sees bright export future in Asia

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 30th October 2009

Speaking at the Australian Food and Grocery Council Industry Leaders Conference on Wednesday, Parliamentary Secretary for Trade, Anthony Byrne, highlighted tremendous opportunity for Australian food exports in Asia.”Australia’s food, beverage and grocery industries turn over $100 billion, employ 315,000 Australians and export $25 billion worth of goods each year, representing 25 per cent of total manufactured exports,” he noted. “In 2008‐09, Japan was our largest food export market, with four of Australia’s top ten export destinations in Asia, and six in the Asia Pacific.”

“Australia’s sophisticated food and beverage industry is set to further benefit from a range of factors that will enhance Asia’s potential as an export destination,” Mr Byrne continued. “A rapidly growing middle class, regional consumer concerns over food quality and security, as well as improved access through regional trade liberalisation are just some of the factors underpinning Asia’s future trade appeal.”

Brand Australia

“Australia’s brand as a clean and green nation producing reliable, healthy products is strong platform to take advantage of both rising disposable incomes and changing consumer preferences across the region,” the Minister advised.

“By 2020, about 70 per cent of China is expected to be middle class with the vast majority of Indians also enjoying middle class incomes by 2040. These demographic shifts will have an enormous impact on consumer spending patterns.”

Mr Byrne said the Australia/New Zealand ‐ ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) would assist food exporters by creating a single free trade zone of 600 million people, with a collective GDP of US$3.2 trillion.

“AANZFTA will also reduce tariffs in markets where Australia has no FTAs, such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, improving access in areas such as meat and livestock, fish, dairy products, wine and spirits, as well as grains and horticultural products” he noted.

In 2007‐08, Australia exported food worth A$4.3 billion to the ASEAN region.