The Australian seafood industry is to benefit from the China Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed yesterday, according to the Seafood Trade Advisory Group (STAG).
The STAG says the tariffs on high value seafood exports rock lobsters and abalone will be lowered to zero in four steps over the next four years.
Nathan Maxwell McGinn, rock lobster and abalone exporter and Chair of the STAG, said the new FTA would push Australia’s seafood industry into a more competitive position.
“This FTA will help us to be more competitive in the world’s largest seafood market. Currently the rock lobster and abalone industries contribute $1.2 billion to Australia’s GDP and through this FTA we are confident that the value of our export market in China will grow significantly,” Mr McGinn said.
“Benefits will be felt immediately as the agreement provides a much needed boost to confidence in the industry in terms of investment. Importantly those benefits will accrue to Australia’s regional and coastal communities where these industries provide an estimated 8500 jobs.”
Jayne Gallagher, General Manager Trade and Market Development with the Australian Seafood Cooperative Research Centre, pointed out that China would also benefit from Australia’s seafood industry.
“With the successful conclusion of the China FTA, the industry will increase its market development efforts and focus on building preference for Australian seafood products, Ms Gallagher said.
“We will be able to compete on a level playing field. The winners from the FTA include the consumers in China who will be able to purchase Australia’s premium quality seafood at a more affordable price.”
The Australian Seafood Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) has named the seafood industry as Australia’s fifth most valuable food-based primary industry, with a production gross of over $2.3 billion in 2011-2012 alone.
Ross Hodge, Executive Officer with Australian Southern Rock Lobster Ltd, says the CRC has also found China to be the number one market to target for future trade.
“The China FTA will enable exporters of Australian Southern Rock Lobster to leverage from these research findings and work collaboratively to substantially expand our market presence in China,” Mr Hodge said.