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International trade and exporting play an important role for many in the Australian seafood industry. The FRDC trade database is now gaining recognition and use by Australian exporters. It continues to provide access to the latest import and exports trade data from the Australian bureau of Statistics. The database is updated monthly and can be filtered and will allow in-depth analysis of import and export trends based on key attributes — country, state, product type. Export codes have been grouped together in logical blocks for ease of use. Visit the portal at www.frdc.com.au/Services/Trade-data.
Trade Bursary Program
During the year COVID-19 caused the cancellation of the FRDC Trade bursary Program due to rising health concerns and travel restrictions. This included the 2020 Seafood Trade bursary to the Seafood Expo Global (in Brussels) and the World Recreational Fishing Conference to be held in Rotterdam.
Seafood Trade Advisory Group
The FRDC-funded Seafood Trade Advisory Group (STAG) project continued to provide advice and updates on market conditions in China. Following the outbreak of COVID-19 the STAG became a critical part of ensuring Australian exporters were kept across changes to markets. The STAG also provided information and data to assist industry participate in the International Freight Assistance Mechanism and continue to export.
Seafood industry engagement in the Australia–European Union Free trade Agreement
Australia progressed the European Union free trade agreement during the year. The FRDC assisted through the coordination of input from fishing and aquaculture industry members. The European Union remains a significant, if not under-accessed market for Australian seafood exporters. This is partly due to Australian exporters facing commercially onerous European Union import regulations and procedures as well as tariff barriers of between 12–26 per cent. The FRDC will continue to assist and coordinate input where requested until the negotiations are completed.
China Seafood Market Development
The FRDC, the Sydney Fish Market and the Australia–China Agricultural Cooperation Agreement program agreed to fund the Professional Fishermen’s Association (PFA) to conduct a trade mission to China to explore the concept of supplying mixed seafood between New South Wales commercial fishers and China using an e-commerce tool. The program was developed in consultation with the PFA, GFRESH, Sydney Fish Market, Austrade and DAWE.
The report from FRDC’s project 2016-173 found at the time there was a significant opportunity and rationale to developing the market to China, with benefits to the Australian seafood industry. The creation of a more stable market that can handle the substantial fluctuations in the supply of specific Australian seafood species as well as the willingness of the Chinese market to pay for high-quality products linked strongly to providence marketing and tourism.