Australian beef to enter EU duty-free

Posted by Janice Wong on 21st January 2010

The European Union has granted Australia market access to its new EU Tariff Quota for high quality beef. The duty-free quota, which first became available in August last year, provides for an additional global supply of 20,000 tonnes of high quality beef into the EU each year.

Australia’s total beef exports to the EU currently exceed $136 million or about 11,000 tonnes annually.

Minister for Trade Simon Crean and Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke yesterday said the announcement is good news for Australian beef exporters as only countries approved by the EU can supply beef under the quota. The United States is the only other country to have been granted access to the quota to date.

“We have worked cooperatively with the European Union over the past few months, detailing our quality control and inspection regimes and ensuring our measures and processes meet the EU’s requirements,” said Mr Burke. “The high Australian dollar has put pressure on our beef exports, and this improvement in market access is a win for Australian farmers at a critical time.”

“Australia’s quality control and food inspection systems are among the best in the world ensuring European customers can be assured of the highest quality product.”

Mr Crean said the EU is an important market for Australia and anticipates positive effects from the increased market access for Australian beef.

“It provides a considerable opportunity for the Australian beef industry to develop its presence in the European Union market with a particular focus on high quality Australian product.”

“Currently our high quality beef exports face a 20% duty in Europe – but under this new market access Australian beef will enter duty free.”

“This result reinforces the benefits of resisting protectionist trade pressures and the extra market access that can be achieved for Australian producers” Mr Crean said.

High quality beef is a niche product, requiring cattle to be fed on a strict diet.

Australian exports of high quality beef under the quota are expected to begin in the first quarter of this year.