Insight – Latin America: Market access wins for agricultural commodities


Australian exporters are taking advantage of growing demand and improved access for agricultural commodities in Latin America.

The Australian Government Counsellor Network expanded in 2019. Australian Counsellors (Agriculture) were appointed in Santiago de Chile and Mexico City. Since 2019, market access has been improved for more than 35 agricultural commodities. Tariffs have also been reduced under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

This article explores recent wins and subsequent opportunities for barley, tallow, ruminant genetics and seeds.

First ever shipments of Australian barley to Mexico

Australia exported its first shipment of Australian barley to Mexico in January 2021. Subsequent shipments have led to more than $48 million of barley exports in 2021 to date (ABS 2021).

Increased export opportunities are the result of several factors, including:

  • ongoing work by government and industry to build relationships in Mexico
  • reduced tariffs. Under the CPTPP, Australia’s barley tariff rate dropped from 46% to 23% in 2021. Tariffs are scheduled to fall to 0% on 1 January 2022
  • demand for barley from Mexican brewers. Mexico is the fourth largest beer producer in the world. Australia is well placed to supplement a lack of domestic supply.
  • more efficient and cost-effective biosecurity treatment options.

In May 2021, Australia also exported barley to Ecuador and Peru for the first time. Opportunities in Colombia continue to be explored.

New market access for tallow

Australia exported its first shipment of tallow to Mexico in August 2021. This shipment comes after long-term work by government and industry to establish market access.

Mexico imported $200 million of tallow in 2020, entirely supplied by the United States (TradeMap 2021).

Australia also gained market access for edible bovine tallow in November 2020 for Ecuador. This was followed by Costa Rica in June 2021.

Australian tallow and beef production is likely to increase in 2021–22.

Increased opportunities for ruminant genetics

Australia is a world leader in ruminant genetics. In April 2021, Australia’s market access for sheep and goat reproductive material to Brazil was confirmed. This came after health certification arrangements were amended.

In 2019, new access for reproductive material was gained for Peru (sheep and goat) and Paraguay (bovine).

New market access for Australian seeds

In October 2021, Australia agreed to conditions for exporting rice seeds for sowing to Argentina. This was achieved after only a few months of technical negotiations. It was one of the fastest market access openings in recent history. Argentina is now issuing import permits to allow trade to start.

Since 2019, Australia has gained new access for a range of seed varietals across Latin America (see Table 1).

Table 1: Australian agricultural seeds with new access to Latin America since 2019

Seed typeNew market access
BeetEcuador, Mexico
BroccoliColombia, Mexico
Brussel sproutMexico
CarrotColombia, Ecuador
Hairy vetchArgentina
LettuceColombia, Ecuador
OnionColombia, Ecuador
Sabbi grassArgentina


The Manual of Importing Country Requirements has import requirements for agricultural commodities.

The Australian Government has published a guide to help businesses get the most out of the CPTPP.

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