Expanded access for citrus exports to South Korea
Australian citrus growers received welcome news this week that Korea’s Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency (QIA) has expanded its policy for Australian citrus to allow the entry of blood oranges.
Prior to the announcement, only Valencia and navel oranges were permitted.
Citrus Market Access Manager, David Daniels, said while it is not expected that large volumes of blood oranges will be exported to Korea, every market access gain is important.
“The government seems to have taken a keen interest in assisting small exporters and it’s great to see some of our smaller issues being progressed as well as our big ticket items,” David said.
“Quite often it’s hard to get progress unless there are tens of millions of dollars involved, but this shows that we are every bit as committed to our smaller growers as we are to our larger growers”.
The announcement has come at an opportune time for Riverina grower Vito Mancini from Redbelly Citrus who made a strategic decision several years ago to redevelop his orchard and focus on growing blood oranges.
With Vito’s orchard now entering into full production and tariff rates into South Korea declining rapidly, the timing couldn’t be better.
“With the lower tariff we have had good enquiries for our bloods this year. While we knew this announcement was on the horizon, we were not able to firm up orders, but we still have plenty of time before fruit reaches full maturity,” Vito said.
“It’s clear to us that the Korean market places a high value on Australia’s reputation as a safe and reliable supplier.”
Korea’s policy extension demonstrates the value of the recently signed free trade agreement.
David said while the tariff reduction is important the value of the goodwill should not be underestimated.
“We have been requesting this change for a few years but we didn’t seem to be getting much traction,” he said.
“While we don’t expect our trading partners to lower their quarantine standards under a free trade agreement, the agreement includes a chapter on agricultural cooperation and a commitment to ongoing dialogue on quarantine issues.
“The signing of the free trade agreement gave us a seat at the table and our issue was resolved relatively quickly once we got to the table.”
Citrus Australia would like to acknowledge officers from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and the Australian Embassy in Seoul whom we worked closely with to provide Korea with the technical package to support the policy change.
Expanded access into Japan is Citrus Australia’s next goal.
Trials funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia (citrus R&D levy matched by the Australian Government) are currently being conducted by the South Australian Research and Development Institute to support expanded access for a number of citrus varieties to Japan.