US plums

Australia and China have agreed to new market access protocols for a number of stonefruit lines, while also improving access for Australian cherries, table grapes and citrus.

Under the terms of the agreement, Australian peaches, plums and apricotswill be allowed to enter the People’s Republic for the first time during the upcoming export season. The move comes after access for Australian nectarines was granted last year.

The timing of the announcement appears ideal for Australian suppliers, with the implementation of the China–Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) meaning that from 1 January 2018, most Australian stonefruit will face a tariff of 2 per cent in China, down from 10 per cent prior to the trade pact entering force.

“These agreements with China will support new and improved market access for a range of valuable and important Australian horticulture commodities and will complement the access already achieved for Australian nectarines,” said Australia’s assistant minister for agriculture and water resources, Luke Hartsuyker.

The revised conditions for cherries, citrus and table grapes include recognition of Australia's fruit fly pest-free areas, as well as improved and more commercially-viable pre-export treatments.

Exports of cherries, citrus and table grapes to China were worth over A$230m over the 2016/17 campaign.

Cherry Growers Australia has projected exports to China could grow by as much as A$50m in future years and Summerfruit Australia expect similar growth. The Australian Table Grape Association projects exports to increase by up to A$100m.

The tariff on Australian citrus exports to China will be eliminated by 1January2023, while all other Australian horticulture exports will be tariff-free by 1January 2019.