Minister to lead ag industry delegation to India

Senator the Hon Murray Watt
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

A combined government-industry push into the growing Indian agriculture market has commenced, with the arrival of a senior Australian delegation in India.

The delegation, led by Australian Agriculture Minister Murray Watt, and including 12 senior Australian agribusiness representatives, will promote Australia's high-quality produce and push for greater trade ties between the two countries.

The delegation will spend three days in Delhi and Mumbai meeting with Indian government, business and industry leaders.

Minister Watt said he would also be holding several high-level meetings with Indian Government Ministers across the week.

"It's no secret that Australia and India share a wonderful relationship," Minister Watt said.

"You only had to see the welcome received by both Prime Minister Albanese in India and Prime Minister Modi in Australia to see the respect we have for each other.

"And we are seeing that relationship develop into better agricultural trade relationships.

"Recently, we opened market access for Australian Hass avocados to India and Indian okra to Australia through the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA).

"In the first 6 months of Australia's Free Trade Agreement with India, Australian businesses have benefitted from lower tariffs on more than $12 billion worth in exports.

"This demonstrates the ongoing work this government is doing to build Australian agriculture trade with India - one of the largest food markets in the world.

"This is only the beginning, with negotiations moving swiftly on an Australia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) to further expand market access for Australian producers.

"This visit allows us to engage with Indian food importers, distributors and retailers to build new opportunities for industry and consumers alike."

The AI-ECTA entered into force on 29 December 2022.

It has brought new and commercially meaningful agriculture market access for a range of sectors, including sheep meat, seafood, wool, cotton, forestry, infant formula, wine and some nuts and fruits.

It has provided the perfect launching pad to broaden and deepen the trading relationship through the Australia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) which is currently under negotiation.

CECA will aim to secure improved and new market access outcomes for Australian agricultural products.

Minister Watt said CECA aims to go beyond AI-ECTA, further improving market access for Australian food commodities under AI-ECTA and securing positive outcomes for products that were not covered under the initial agreement. The visit will help build momentum ahead of the next CECA negotiating round this month.

"India is a rapidly rising economic power," Minister Watt said.

"The size and scale of this market means it is a key diversification opportunity for Australian agriculture and food commodity exports as we respond to global trade challenges.

"India's growing middle-class is a key market for high-quality Australian produce, opening new opportunities for agricultural trade, including as inputs to the production of final high quality Indian products.

"Through the Agricultural Trade and Market Access Cooperation grants program, the government is also supporting industry-driven projects aimed at expanding and diversifying markets for sectors impacted by global trade disruptions."

This includes support for cooperation projects in the India market addressing supply chain issues, promoting our high-quality produce abroad and clearing the way for exporters to seize opportunities opened by the AI-ECTA, and prepare for new opportunities under CECA such as:

  • $480,000 for the Australian Nut Industry Council to expand markets for Australian macadamias, walnuts, pistachios and pecans
  • $300,000 for the Infant Nutrition Council to develop new export markets for Australia's infant formula industry
  • $574,000 for Grains Australia Limited for providing further opportunities to diversify production and export of Australian grain
  • $350,000 for Hort Innovation to map, understand and address reported issues in the horticultural supply chain to India
  • $145,000 for Meat and Livestock Australia to initiate trade, marketing and business development programs
  • $489,000 for Australian Grape and Wine to advance their roadmap to broaden markets and to drive growth in export opportunities
  • $165,000 for Seafood Industry Australia to build on market diversification activities, particularly for southern rock lobsters.
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