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17 July 2020

Western Australian Agrifood Export eNews

Agribusiness, commercial fishing and aquaculture news from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.  Please email export@dpird.wa.gov.au if you have any questions or information to share.  Click here to subscribe to this newsletter.

Grants to support WA agricultural exports

Regional agrifood and beverage businesses targeting export markets have been given a boost, with the Western Australian Government's International Competitiveness Co-investment Fund grant program which opened this week.

Grants of between $50,000 and $100,000 to help businesses pursue premium markets in Asia will be available from the first round of the $800,000 International Competitiveness Co-investment Fund.

The grants will assist businesses to stabilise and adapt their business to the 'new normal' of doing business in a changing global operating environment.

Recipients will be able to invest in a range of areas that stimulate business growth, like improving scale, diversifying markets, product quality, competitiveness and supply chains, or that develop innovative ways to engage with Asian markets, customers or consumers on virtual or online platforms.

The WA Government recognises the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on regional agrifood and beverage businesses and has responded by lowering the co-contribution requirement of this round of grants to one third.

More information about the International Competitiveness Co-investment Fund is available online.  Applications close 11 pm AWST Wednesday 12 August 2020.  More...  Source:  WA Minister for Regional Development; Agriculture and Food  |  Photo:  DPIRD

WA Industry Snapshots to help attract investment

A collection of seven Western Australian Industry Snapshots has been released to showcase and support continued investment and trade opportunities in the State’s critical primary and food value add industries.

The Industry Snapshots provide an overview of market information, advantages and opportunities in the State’s horticulture, dairy, edible oils, beverage, aquaculture, wild capture seafood and processed foods industries, adding to existing profiles on arable crops and the meat industry.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Agribusiness, Food and Trade Executive Director Liam O'Connell said the Snapshots illustrate the comparable long-term benefits of investing in WA’s primary industries, presenting the State as a reliable and trusted producer of premium quality, healthy and safe food and beverages.

“The Snapshots also highlight WA’s proximity to growing Asian markets, safe, environmentally sound, sophisticated production and processing systems, along with a stable government environment,” Mr O’Connell said.

WA’s primary industries and processed food and beverage sector is the State’s second largest internationally traded sector, with exports worth $8.5 billion in 2018-19, but there is opportunity for responsible expansion with further investment.

“WA is among the world’s leaders in successful, sustainable, and safe primary production, backed by established and evolving supply chains and modern infrastructure,” Mr O’Connell said.

“WA is renowned as having one of the best, most sustainably managed fisheries in the world, supported by international certifications.

“The Western Australian Industry Snapshots harness the facts, figures and industry insights required to capture the interest of potential investors and other stakeholders.

“As the world adapts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, WA’s transparent and traceable primary industries will play an essential role in the WA economy and a dynamic global market place.”  More...  Source & Photo/Graphic:  DPIRD

WA Trade Commissioners on South West roadshow

Four of Western Australia’s international Trade Commissioners – who are based in Perth during COVID-19 – have spent the last two days in the South West learning more about the region’s premium products, innovations in the agriculture, food and beverage sectors, as well as potential investment opportunities.

Organised by the South West Development Commission and the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation (JTSI), with the support of the Department Primary Industries and Regional Development, the roadshow included a South West Exporters Forum, Accessing Asia in a Post-Covid World, a networking event with the Invest South West Investment Alliances and Angel Network, meetings with the Margaret River Wine Association and freight forwarders, and site visits to avocado and beef producers.

Trade Commissioners Jennifer Mathews (Indonesia), Peter Baldwin, (India), Stuart Crockett (China) and David McCulloch (Japan) met with key industry people and exporters, and were able to see first-hand some of the world-class products on offer in the South West.

Despite supply chain disruptions and depressed demand caused by COVID-19, the roadshow has demonstrated that the South West’s innovative exporters of premium, safe products are already adapting to the challenges before them.

By working closely with the State’s international Trade Commissioners and WA-based Government trade officers, exporters will be better-placed to get through this difficult economic time. 

All WA's Trade Commissioners welcome trade and investment enquiries from WA exporters.  For general enquiries, connect with the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation Invest and Trade team or the Department of Primary Industries and Regional DevelopmentSource & Photo:  JTSI / DPIRD [WA Trade Commissioners at Jasper Farms in Ruabon today.]

WA small businesses to receive $17,500 grants during COVID-19

A one-off grant of $17,500 from the Western Australian State Government will be given to small to medium sized businesses this week to aid in recovery from the effects of COVID-19.

Payroll tax-paying businesses, with a payroll between $1 million and $4 million, will receive a one-off payment.  It is expected 7,400 WA businesses will benefit from the grant.

Eligible businesses can be employers or groups of employers (where a single grant will be payable to the designated group employer).

This grant will be sent automatically to qualifying businesses.

Eligibility for employers not registered for payroll tax in 2018-19 will be determined on their reconciled 2019-20 Australian taxable wages, with grants paid later in 2020.

The grant is part of the Government’s $2.3 billion COVID-19 stimulus and relief package for households and businesses.  More...  Source:  WA Finance Minister  |  Photo:  DPIRD

Briefing on Indonesia-Australia trade agreement

Wondering what the benefits are for your business under the new Free Trade Agreement between Australia and Indonesia?  The Indonesia Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) offers an exciting opportunity for many Australian businesses already exporting, or just setting out on their export journey.

Following the entry into force of IA-CEPA on 5 July 2020, Austrade invites you to join this digital seminar on 22 July at 9 am AWST and hear from Gary Quinlan AO, Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, and Sally Deane, Austrade’s Senior Trade Commissioner to Indonesia, on the benefits this new agreement offers to Australian goods and services.

Visit the Free Trade Agreements seminars page to learn more about the series and listen to past recordings.  |  Related:  Using IA-CEPA to do business with Indonesia  |  Source:  Austrade / DFAT  |  Photo:  DFAT/Tim Tobing [Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Senator Simon Birmingham and Indonesian Minister for Trade Enggartiasto Lukita, ahead of the signing of IA-CEPA, in March 2019.]

Australian Crop Season 2020 Update videos available

The next round of crop inspection videos for Australia's international customers are now available from the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC). These videos – which track the development of Australia’s crops and show our supply chains in action – are the outputs from a truly collaborative effort across the Australian grains industry.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has restricted international travel, these updates provide insights into how Australia's crops are progressing and keep you connected with AEGIC and the Australian grains industry.

Three videos have been produced – seasonal updates for Western Australia, South Australia and Eastern Australia (Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland combined).  All videos have been translated (with subtitles) into Bahasa Indonesia, Mandarin, Japanese and Vietnamese.  More...  |  Related:  Stakeholder Update 2020  Source:  AEGIC  |  Photo:  DPIRD

Application for accreditation of farms and packhouses for export of avocados to Japan

Applications are now open for farms and packhouses intending to export Hass Avocados to Japan for the 2020 season, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) advises in its latest Industry Advice Notice.  Farm and packhouse managers wanting to export to Japan must download the application form and submit the completed application to Avocados Australia by 5 pm AEST, Monday 3 August 2020.  Late submissions will not be accepted.

All information in the application (for example, ABN numbers, contact details, accredited property maps and addresses) must be complete and correct or the application may not be accepted.  Avocados Australia will forward accreditation applications to the department’s Audit and Assurance Group.

Crop monitors must complete the generic crop monitor course online through the Tocal College online eLearning hub by 10 August 2020 to be eligible to conduct crop monitoring for avocados to Japan.  Farms and packhouses will be subject to audits by DAWE prior to confirming accreditation.  

Accredited farms and packhouses may be subject to verification visits by the Japan Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.  If you have any questions regarding this, please email DAWE's Horticulture Exports Program.  More...  Source:  DAWE  |  Related:  SA avocado growers fearful of market disruptions due to COVID-19 spikes Source: ABC News  |  Photo:  DPIRD

Growing optimism for Aussie farmers

While the impacts of COVID-19 have been widespread across the economy, the outlook for many parts of Australia’s agribusiness sector is strong and growing, according to Commonwealth Bank’s Regional and Agribusiness division.

“There’s optimism and appetite for investment in the sector, and supporting agribusiness will be essential to growing the economy,” said CBA’s Executive General Manager Regional and Agribusiness, Grant Cairns.

Mr Cairns says Australian agribusiness is experiencing a level of opportunity across many sectors that has not been seen for years, with favourable market conditions, good seasonal conditions in most regions, and a consumer focus on fresh produce.

“The sector has a very strong outlook – largely due to recent rainfall in many regions across the country, combined with low interest rates, increased land values, many commodity prices holding strong and market demand for our Australian produce," he said. 

With a recent focus on food security and supermarket shortages, Mr Cairns said a light has shone on agriculture’s status as one of the most critical pillars of our economy.

“We’ve heard from many growers who see this change as an opportunity to rethink the old ways of working and consider new business models that might include consolidations, diversification and even collaborations with other producers to meet changing market demand and consumer preferences, and explore where their next opportunity might come from,” Mr Cairns said.

For example, Hussey and Co, a Victoria-based business which grows, packages and supplies gourmet baby salad leaf mixes for food service and retail sectors across Australia and internationally, has invested heavily in acquiring farms in different regions to support year-round supply.  More...  Source & Photo:  CBA  

Austrade: China embracing plant-based protein

China is embracing plant-based protein, Austrade reports in its latest market insight.   Companies from the US, such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, are leading in the “looks like meat but isn’t” sector, and Oatly, Vitasoy and Milk Lab (Freedom Foods) are providing a range of plant-based milk substitutes, such as oat, almond and rice.  According to Euromonitor, the value of plant-based milk in China reached RMB 53.69 billion (A$10.74 billion) in 2019 with a projected compound growth rate of 2.7 per cent per year from 2019 to 2024.  Growing consumption of plant-based milk accords with growing general interest in wellbeing and high numbers of lactose intolerance.

Austrade says China imported 2.76 million tonnes of meat products, up 82 per cent and valued at A$16 billion, up 150 per cent, year-on-year January to April 2020.  Total meat imports included 1.22 million tonnes of pork (70 per cent increase), 617,000 tonnes of beef (54 per cent increase) and 123,000 tonnes of mutton and lamb (3 per cent decrease) year-on-year.  The US, Spain and Germany are the top three exporters of pork to China. Brazil, Argentina and Australia are the top three exporters of beef to China. New Zealand, Australia and Uruguay are the top three exporters of mutton and lamb to China.

China’s imports of sheep meat are likely to be flat in the coming months, as consumption traditionally goes up during the winter and early spring seasons.  The recent outbreak of COVID-19 in Beijing’s Xinfadi Agriculture Produce Wholesale Market has also impacted imported fresh products, with new inspection requirements in placeMore...  Source:  Austrade / DAWE / Euromonitor [paid subscription]  |  Related:  Livestreaming boost to Australian fresh and healthy foods campaign in China  Source:  Austrade  |  Related:  China avoids recession as GDP growth beats forecasts  Source:  Australian Financial Review [paid subscription]  |  Photo:  WA Agrifood Export eNews

Digital strategies critical for wine sales to US

COVID-19 restrictions have shattered the on-premise market for wine sales in the United States – Australia’s second largest export market by volume – resulting in lower total wine sales and significant revenue losses for some United States wineries, according to the latest Rabobank Wine Quarterly report.

Over March and April 2020 combined, there was an estimated $US47 billion, year-on-year reduction in total sales in US food service, and drinking establishment channels as restrictions set in.  Total sales for US food service and drinking establishments for the first four months of 2020 were down an estimated $US68 billion, or 22 per cent.

And with sales in full-service restaurants and bars unlikely to return to 2019 levels until after 2021, the second quarter report, COVID -19 and the US premium wine market Part 1, highlights that wine producers selling into the US market would need to find new ways of engaging consumers in the future.

For Australian wine producers vying for share in the US market, Rabobank senior wine analyst Hayden Higgins said digital strategies will become increasingly critical for sales success.

Western Australian wine exports to the US were worth $6.1 million in 2018-19, and in the year to date (July to May) 2019-20, the State's wine exports to this important market reached $4.9 million.   More...  Source:  Rabobank / Kate Pritchett, DPIRD  |  Related:  Market insights – United States  Source: Wine Australia  |  USA Market Overview  Source: Global Trade Helpdesk |  Photo:  WA Agrifood Export eNews

Australia’s competitiveness in the Asia-Pacific region

Australia’s competitiveness – a key metric for international investors – remains stable, according to an annual survey compiled by the Institute for Management Development (IMD).  Based in Switzerland, the IMD is one of the world’s most prestigious business schools and its rankings are highly regarded.

The IMD’s World Competitiveness Yearbook 2020 shows Singapore was number one for the second year in a row.  Factors behind Singapore’s success are its strong economic performance which stems from robust international trade and investment, employment and labour market measures.

Australia retained its 18th spot this year, having gained three places since 2017.  While a global 18th spot appears moderate, Australia scores an impressive fourth place among countries in the Asia-Pacific region, Austrade reports in its latest economic analysis.

Australia performed particularly well among medium-to-large countries. Omitting countries with populations of less than 20 million, Australia achieved a fifth-place global ranking – just behind Germany and ahead of the United Kingdom.

The IMD’s competitive rankings assess how countries compare across a range of factors. These include openness to trade and investment, the state of labour markets, and the quality of infrastructure – such as bandwidth speeds and technology access.  More...  Source:  Austrade / IMD  |  Related:  Australia a top 10 foreign investment target, UNCTAD report shows  Source:  Austrade  |  Photo:  Austrade

Global Trade Helpdesk

Government policies and global market conditions are evolving rapidly in response to COVID-19 and it is important for businesses to stay informed and adapt. 

Particularly useful during the major trade disruptions caused by this pandemic, the Global Trade Helpdesk allows firms to access timely and relevant international trade information, including trade opportunities, detailed information about imports, market dynamics, tariffs, regulatory requirements, and potential buyers.

A multi-agency initiative jointly led by the United Nations International Trade Centre, the UN Conference on Trade and Development and the World Trade Organisation, the Global Trade Helpdesk aims to simplify market research – especially for micro, small and medium enterprises – by integrating trade and business information into a single online portal.  More...  Source:  ITC / UNCTAD / WTO  |  Photo:  DPIRD

WTO: Keeping trade open central to economic recovery from COVID-19

In a report to the United Nations High-level Political Forum, which took place this week, the World Trade Organisation Secretariat highlights that, amid COVID-19 economic disruptions, keeping trade open and fostering a favourable business environment will be critical to spur the renewed investment needed to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The WTO report says the multilateral trading system has contributed significantly to unprecedented economic development over the last few decades.  

At this time of massive COVID-19-induced disruptions to international trade, the multilateral trading system becomes all the more important, providing a forum for a coordinated response to the pandemic, the report says.  More...  Source:  WTO  | Related:  Singapore in recession with record 41.2 per cent GDP plunge  Source:  Bloomberg  |  Photo:  WTO

IMF: Sustainable food systems needed in post-COVID world

2020 will be a year of reckoning for the world’s food systems, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says in analysis released this week. In just months, COVID-19 shut down half the globe. Images of panic buying, empty grocery shelves and miles-long queues at food banks have suddenly reminded us how important food systems are in our lives and how imbalanced they have become.

Pandemic-induced runs on food, however, do not merely reflect human behaviour during emergencies. The IMF believes there is evidence the global food supply chain — highly centralised and operating on a just-in-time supply basis — is prone to falter in the face of shocks.  In many countries, for example, it became impossible to harvest or package food as workers were blocked at borders or fell sick.  Elsewhere, stocks piled up and avalanches of food went to waste because restaurants and bars were closed.

The IMF says the rebuilding of economies after the COVID-19 crisis offers a unique opportunity to transform the global food system and make it resilient to future shocks, ensuring environmentally-sustainable and healthy nutrition for all. To make this happen, United Nations agencies like the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the United Nations Environment Program, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the World Food Program, collectively, suggest four broad shifts in the food system: building resilient food supply chains; promotion of healthy diets; increased regenerative farming; and increased conservation.  More...  Source:  IMF  |  Relayed:  Food Security and Nutrition Around the World 2020  Source:  FAO  |  Photo:  IMF