Australia’s apiary industry has welcomed the slashing of tariffs under the China Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) for Australian honey exports, with the national peak industry body stating it would create the potential for exports to become a lucrative trade.
Tariffs on a range of Australian food and agricultural products decreased from 15 per cent to nine per cent on 19 December, and that number dropped down further to six per cent on 1 January.
WAFarmers Beekeepers Section President Leilani Leyland said the tariff cuts would be beneficial for the state’s apiary businesses.
“For those who export internationally, this is a significant win which will generate greater demand and returns for apiarists while also expanding upon existing international markets,” Mrs Leyland said.
“In particular, exporters of the high-value Manuka honey are likely to see a big difference form the tariff reduction, and while this is mostly only applicable to the eastern states at the moment, it presents opportunities for export growth from Western Australia in the future.
“Given this, we hope that benefits from the reduction in tariffs will also be felt by exporters of other high-end honeys such as Jarrah and Marri.”
Capilano Branch Manager WA and WAFarmers Member Michael Bellman said it would make a big difference to exporters such as Capilano, which could double their sales to China year-on-year.
“The cuts make a big difference in that they will be more price-competitive with countries like New Zealand that have had the Free Trade Agreement for a while, as the Chinese view Australia and New Zealand as two premium markets,” Mr Bellman said.
“They know Australia is clean and green, they can trust the quality and food safety of our products, and they can trust the Capilano brand and associated brands like Wescobee in Western Australia.
“As exports sales continue to grow, the benefits will be delivered back to its beekeepers suppliers and the Australian honey industry in general, so it is a very exciting time to be a beekeeper.”
Australian Honey Bee Industry Council Executive Director Trevor Weatherhead said Australia already had a very good export base into China even with tariffs, so the reduction would only see this get better.