Comber Early Potatoes

Australia’s potato industry has welcomed to two key commitments realised under the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), which are set to improve access to the Thai market.

David Littleproud, Australia’s agriculture minister, announced that Thailand has now implemented zero tariffs and removed tariff rate quotas that limited the volume of Australian seed and processing potatoes that could access the lower TAFTA tariff.

As a result, Australian seed and processing potato exports to Thailand are no longer subject to tariffs or limits on volume.

Michael Coote, national manager – export development of Ausveg, said Australian potato growers stand to benefit from the increasing of trade into Thailand following the removal of tariff volumes and rates.

“Australian potato growers are in a strong position to take advantage of opportunities in Thailand, which is becoming an increasingly important export market for Australian vegetable and potato growers,” said Coote.

“Thailand is an emerging market for Australian potatoes in particular, with the Asian market currently the second largest importer of Australian potatoes behind South Korea.”

Last year Australia’s global fresh vegetable exports were valued at A$299m (US$214m). In the 12 months up to 30 June, 2019 Australian vegetable exports to Thailand were valued at A$15m (US$10m), following strong growth in the Thai market over the past three years.

The top vegetable exports to Thailand are onions, carrots, potatoes, celery and broccoli; potatoes make up 25 per cent of total Australian vegetable exports to Thailand.

“Even in the midst of the current economic climate, demand has continued to be strong for Australian fresh vegetables and potatoes in export markets, with enquiries still coming in from a range of international trading partners,” said Coote.

“Australian potatoes and vegetables enjoy a positive reputation in international markets for quality and reliability of supply. The industry has seen positive export growth in recent years and it is important that we are able to continue to supply these markets during the Covid-19 disruption to maintain this hard-won market share.”

Processing potatoes produced in all Australian states are permitted to import into Thailand subject to phytosanitary requirements. Seed potatoes from South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia are currently approved by Thailand’s Department of Agriculture to be exported to Thailand.