Facebook icon Twitter icon Forward icon

31 July 2020

Western Australian Agrifood Export eNews

Agribusiness, commercial fishing and aquaculture news from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.  If you have any questions or information to share, please email export@dpird.wa.gov.auSubscribe to Western Australian Agrifood Export eNews.

New and extended IFAM-supported flights

As part of phase 2, the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) has announced the following new and extended flights.  This is in addition to 24 new and extended flights announced last week.

The new IFAM supported flights are: Perth to Singapore with Emirates; and Sydney to Bangkok with Emirates.  Extended IFAM supported flights are: Brisbane to Dubai with Emirates; and Sydney to Dubai with Emirates.  Full details can be found in the IFAM Flight Schedule Outbound and IFAM Flight Schedule Inbound.

IFAM’s new and improved grants application portal officially launched on Tuesday this week.  Exporters can work with their freight forwarder to apply for grant assistance where there are no suitable outbound IFAM-supported flights.  All applications for grant assistance must now be submitted online via SmartyGrants. The new online system will allow freight forwarders to easily submit applications, check the status of a current application and access a record of previous submissions. 

Exporters should speak to their freight forwarder and visit the IFAM webpage for further information on grant assistance.  If you have any questions or need more information, please email Airfreight@austrade.gov.au, or Austrade State Director WA, Jane Caforio, on jane.caforio@austrade.gov.au.  More... Source:  IFAM / Austrade  |  Photo:  Emirates

Removal of paper export certificates to Indonesia

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment  (DAWE) has advised in an Industry Advice Notice today that it has recently negotiated the acceptance of electronic certification through e-Cert with Indonesia.  The removal of paper export certificates for Indonesia was fast tracked to ease the current challenges faced during COVID-19.

From 11 August 2020, DAWE will no longer issue paper phytosanitary certificates from the Export Documentation System (EXDOC) system for grain and horticulture consignments being exported to Indonesia.

DAWE's e-Cert system is integrated with EXDOC, allowing the transmission of export certificate data to Indonesia.  e-Cert is an electronic government-to-government system designed to exchange export certificates for traded food and agricultural commodities. The system generates an electronic message in place of the current paper certificates issued by the exporting country to the importing country to confirm food safety, animal and plant health. 

Exporters and their agents will be able to print ‘extracts’ of export certificates in order to satisfy commercial arrangements, where necessary.  Where an export certificate is not currently issued through EXDOC (for example, non-GMO certification), there will be no change to current process. These certificates will continue to be issued as manual paper certificates.  This change will also impact all other grain and horticulture export certificates currently issued from the EXDOC system for Indonesia.

If you have any questions regarding this notice, please email EXDOC Plant Programs.  More...  Source:  DAWE  |  Photo:  CBH / DPIRD

Forward planning critical in preventing on-farm labour shortages

AUSVEG, the industry representative for Australia’s vegetable and potato growers, is urging vegetable growers across the country to assess their labour needs and forward plan now before the busy spring and summer harvest seasons.

The call for forward planning comes as the number of foreign workers, which the industry has relied on for harvesting produce, has fallen due to the restrictions on international travel. This has coincided with harsher restrictions on movement of farm workers across borders on the eastern seaboard, which has left some businesses short of workers during their busy harvest period.

AUSVEG chief executive officer James Whiteside says the availability of foreign workers more significantly reduced than usual for this time of the year, and growers need to be as proactive as possible in assessing their labour needs so that they can protect themselves as much as possible from worker shortages.

"Working holiday makers and seasonal workers numbers in Australia are down about 35 per cent on where they would normally be, and that is expected to continue to decline further as we get closer to Christmas," Mr Whiteside said. "Unfortunately, with the international border restrictions and with no clear end in sight, it is difficult to for growers and industry to plan for an international workforce.” 

He said it is also made more difficult with domestic border closures, which is why it is crucial growers plan and advertise their workforce needs as early as possible.  More...  Source:  AUSVEG  |  Related:  Jobs in WA food and agriculture  Source: Food Alliance WA  | Federal Government set to allow fruit pickers from Vanuatu into Australia despite coronavirus border closure  Source:  ABC News   Photo:  DPIRD

Combating seafood fraud

The Federal Government is backing the development of world first portable x-ray fluorescence technology that aims to easily identify Australian grown seafood and protect against food fraud.

The Government is investing $202,500 into the Australian Nuclear Science Technology Organisation (ANSTO) world-leading project, which is one of 16 to share in $4 million in funding under the first round of Traceability Grants Program.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said ANSTO was leading a consortium applying advances in isotopic and elemental fingerprinting to determine the provenance of seafood.

“Australian fisheries and aquaculture production is expected to grow to $3.84 billion in 2024-25 based on continued and growing demand within Australia and the Asia region,” Minister Littleproud said.

“Unfortunately, some fraudulent parties mislabel produce as Australian, which could lead to devastating impacts on Australian seafood’s good reputation and consumption if people lose faith in our products.

“This technology will support industry efforts to provide even stronger assurances to our trading partners and consumers about the origins, safety and quality of our seafood.”  More...  Source:  Federal Minister for Agriculture  |  Related:  Could COVID-driven reduction in fishing pressure lead to recovery of depleted stocks?  Source:  UNDP  |  Photo:  SIA

Australian seafood industry launches mental health pilot program

A program focused on mental health early intervention, engagement and education in the Australian commercial fishing industry is being piloted across the country by Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), supported by Women in Seafood Australasia

The $600,000 program, funded under the Australian Government’s Mental Health Program, will be run in three target communities providing industry, primary health networks, community leaders and trusted industry advocates with training and resources to assist in better identifying and responding to mental health issues affecting industry participants.

“Research has shown Australia’s commercial fishers experience twice the base-rate of psychological stress than the general population, and this is not okay,” SIA Interim Chief Executive Officer Veronica Papacosta said.

“As part of Seafood Industry Australia’s 2019 Federal Election package we asked for funding to develop the first industry-specific mental health support program just like land-based farmers, mining and construction industries have."

The pilot program has been specially developed to help break the stigma associated with poor mental health within industry, develop a network of trusted industry advocates who fishers could reach out to help them find support, and educate primary healthcare networks about industry pressures.  More...  Source:  SIA  |  Photo:  DPIRD

Australians call for removal of unsustainable seafood

More than three quarters of Australian seafood consumers want supermarkets and restaurants to remove unsustainable seafood from their shelves and menus, new national research from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) reveals.  

Despite being a nation of seafood lovers and home to some of the best seafood in the world, a quarter of Australians are consuming less than five years ago. This increased to 4 in 10 among 18-24-year olds.  As a more environmentally conscious population than ever before, the MSC says it’s no surprise the primary reason for this dip is not just price, but concern for declining fish populations and the effects of fishing on the ocean.

The MSC research also found 88 per cent of seafood consumers want better information so they can be confident they are buying sustainable seafood, 25 per cent say they avoid purchasing seafood because it is complicated to know which product to buy, and awareness, trust and likelihood to recommend the MSC “blue fish tick” sustainable seafood label has risen sharply.  More...  |  Related:  Concern for the oceans drives consumers to ‘vote with their forks’ for sustainable seafood  |  MSC announces new research funding to improve fishery observer safety  |  Source & Photo:  MSC

Diversifying trade away from China – five key considerations

Businesses need to consider five important factors which will play a key role in Australia's future economic relationship with China, says Tim Harcourt from the University of New South Wales' Business School.

The J.W. Nevile Fellow in Economics, who is also known as the Airport Economist, Professor Harcourt says the first factor is that Australia is already diversifying in terms of trade and investment, and it’s why the government signs bilateral trade agreements, as well as regional and multilateral agreements. China diversifies its import sources, as businesses diversify customers and investors.

Second, businesses have the right to decide who they do business with. Even if they wanted to, governments can’t exactly tell businesses what to do.

Third, if not China, what are the alternatives?  Professor Harcourt said when you look at China, there are 7,779 Australian exporters selling goods there, with 6,448 to Hong Kong. This overshadows, for instance, the numbers of exporters selling products to Indonesia at 2,550, just above the United Arab Emirates on 2,512, and well ahead of India on only 2,176. Plus, there are 3,000 Australian businesses based in China (compared to just 100 in Japan, for instance).

Fourth, trade is not all about the free market. There’s a lot of government fiat involved (direct regulatory decisions that affect trade), and the government itself is engaged in trade.  When you think of defence, education and healthcare, a lot of trade business is government-to-government. Governments are exporters, importers and investors.

And fifth, China will remain a critical bilateral partner to Australia, despite ongoing trade tensions.  More...  Source:  Tim Harcourt, UNSW  |  Photo:  DPIRD

Webinar: What have we learned from COVID-19’s impacts on Australia, India and Indonesia?

The international public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally disrupted societies across the Indian Ocean region. Health systems have been stretched, economies have been hibernated, and social and family relationships have been strained to an extraordinary degree.

But the crisis has also given rise to reassessments of how countries might address their economic, trade and security challenges differently.  What has been learned about the prospects for greater regional cooperation?  How can countries act to prepare for viruses and other risks that trample on national borders and sovereignty?  And how much can governments learn and borrow from one another to meet such challenges?

An online collaborative event, taking place 6 August 2020 at 4 pm AWST, hosted by the University of Western Australia Public Policy Institute and the Perth USAsia Centre, will examine these impacts up close in the cases of Australia, India and Indonesia.

The panel discussion will be moderated by former Australian Foreign Minister, Professor Stephen Smith.  More...  Source:  Perth USAsia Centre  |  Related:  COVID-19 a health and economic challenge  Source: Australian Minister for Trade  |  Graphic:  Perth USAsia Centre

Webinar: Reducing export risks – protecting your IP, payment and operating risks

Australia’s Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) open up new opportunities and market access, but FTAs are only part of the export puzzle.

Join this Austrade webinar on 5 August 2020 at 9 am AWST where a panel of legal, trade and finance experts will take you through the key risks facing exporters and the factors to consider when expanding internationally.  Also hear first-hand from an Australian exporter on how they've successfully tackled the challenges.  More...  Source:  Austrade  |  Related: How trade missions can go virtual in a closed-border world  Source:  Australian Financial Review [paid subscription]  |  Photo:  DPIRD

More Australian wine set for Canadian shelves

In a win for our wine exporters, Australia this week reached an agreement with Canada to remove unfair restrictions on Australian wine sales imposed by the Canadian federal government and in the provinces of Ontario and Nova Scotia.

Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said the removal of these discriminatory measures would increase access for our wine producers in the important Canadian market.

“Removing these trade barriers will mean our wine exporters can now compete on a level playing field with Canadian wine producers,” Minister Birmingham said.

"With Australian wine exporters enjoying zero tariffs into Canada, this is a market with real potential for growth and this agreement will provide further opportunities for our wine exporters to sell more Australian wine in Canada." 

Western Australian wine exports to Canada were valued at $1.9 million in 2018-19, with the State's total agrifood exports there $36.1 million.  Lamb is WA's largest agrifood export to Canada, valued at $23.7 million and making up 66 per cent of total agrifood exports. More...  Source:  Federal Trade Minister / Kate Pritchett, DPIRD  |  Related:  Dispute Settlement DS537: Canada — Measures Governing the Sale of Wine  Source:  WTO  |  Photo:  DPIRD

Supporting Australian exporters through COVID-19

If your agribusiness has been affected by COVID-19, Export Finance Australia’s finance solutions could help you through this difficult time.

The COVID-19 outbreak has placed unprecedented pressure on Australian businesses across all industry sectors including agribusiness.

As they try and deal with the effects of the pandemic, businesses may need to call on additional finance to cover cash flow gaps but may be unable to secure the finance from their banks. That’s where Export Finance Australia could help.

As the Government’s export credit agency, Export Finance Australia has been helping Australian businesses for more than 60 years. Through a range of loans and guarantees, they provide finance solutions to exporters or businesses in an export-related supply chain.

When COVID-19 impacted WA-based business, Grape Expectations Vintners, they turned to Export Finance Australia to assist with finance. Their loan provided working capital support to enable the business to continue producing their 2020 vintage for their export markets.

“Without Export Finance Australia, our export business would have been severely impacted by COVID-19. Their help has meant that we will be able to continue to produce and export wines to our international customers and has made our business that much more commercial. It’s wonderful”, said Franklin Tate, Proprietor and Founder, Grape Expectations Vintners.

If your business needs finance for working capital support, to fulfil an international contract or cover any cashflow gaps, Export Finance Australia may be able to help.  To find out more visit exportfinance.gov.au/covid19 or call 1800 093 724.  Source Export Finance Australia  |  Related: New COVID report shows SME resilience, optimism  Source: Food & Drink Business  | Photo:  DPIRD

WTO: Global commercial flights increase

Global commercial flights, which carry a substantial amount of international air cargo, were down nearly three quarters (–74 per cent) between 5 January and 18 April 2020, and have since risen 58 per cent through mid-June, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) reported last week.

World trade fell sharply in the first half of the year, as the COVID-19 pandemic upended the global economy.  However, rapid government responses helped temper the contraction, and WTO economists now believe that while trade volumes will register a steep decline in 2020, they are unlikely to reach the worst-case scenario projected in April.

"The fall in trade we are now seeing is historically large – in fact, it would be the steepest on record. But there is an important silver lining here: it could have been much worse,” WTO Director‑General Roberto Azevêdo said.  "This is genuinely positive news but we cannot afford to be complacent.  Policy decisions have been critical in softening the ongoing blow to output and trade, and they will continue to play an important role in determining the pace of economic recovery  More...  Source:  WTO  |  Photo:  Frankfurt Airport

OECD: Use digital technologies to rebuild economies

COVID-19 marks a turning point for digital transformation, and by going digital and implementing trustworthy artificial intelligence, global economies can be built back that are more resilient, inclusive and sustainable, a meeting of the Group of Twenty (G20) Digital Economy Ministers were told last week.

Speaking in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Secretary-General Ángel Gurría told the Ministers the OECD’s latest Economic Outlook projects a drop in global GDP growth of 6 per cent in 2020, which could rise to 7.6 per cent in case of a second wave of broad-based confinement measures.

"It is important to note that without digital technologies and related work practices, this might have been worse – our economies might have come to a complete standstill," Mr Gurría said.  "Because of digital tools, 34 per cent of employees in the United States switched to telework in April 2020.  We in the OECD went to 100 per cent telework in two weeks. And in Canada, 30 per cent of business owners with online operations increased their sales in April, despite COVID-19.  It was the same throughout the OECD and the world."  More...  Source:  OECD  |  Related:  Western Australians invited to have their say on digital inclusion  Source:  WA Minister for Innovation and ICT  |  How digital transformation and innovation have been accelerated due to COVID-19  Source:  Forbes  |  Graphic:  OECD

IMF COVID-19 policy tracker

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has updated its policy tracker, which summarises the key economic responses governments are taking to limit the human and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tracker includes publicly available information from 196 economies, or information provided by the authorities to the IMF.

For Australian exporters, using this IMF policy tracker could be useful for understanding how locked down your key exports markets are, as well providing other valuable information – even about when you may be able to travel there for business.  For example, while Tokyo raised the COVID-19 alert level to the highest on 15 July 2020, the policy tracker also indicates Japan is in talks to ease border restrictions for foreign visitors from Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam and Thailand.

The IMF says the tracker focuses on discretionary actions and might not fully reflect the policies taken by countries in response to COVID-19.  The information included is not meant for comparison across members as responses vary depending on the nature of the shock and country-specific circumstances.  More...  Source & Photo:  IMF / Port of Hamburg