Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL)

Nut Industry gears up for Korea Free Trade Agreement

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Source: Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL)

Australia's tree nut exports are expected to grow from $600 million in 2013/14 to $1 billion in 2020 with the industry set to benefit significantly from the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement with Korea.

Australia's almond and macadamia industries have already begun moves to make the most of the change which is expected to come into force by the end of 2014 according to the Australian Nut Industry Council which brings together the almond, chestnut, hazelnut, macadamia, pecan, pistachio and walnut industries.

Until now, Australia has been effectively excluded from the lucrative $A160 million Korean almond market due to high tariffs. The FTA will immediately end this disadvantage, making way for a trade delegation by the Almond Board of Australia in November this year.

The change will enable the already strong Australian almond industry - which is the second largest in the world - to grow further. At present, 65 per cent of Australia's 80,000 tonne annual almond crop is exported although the $A650 million industry is expected to increase further as current trees mature.  The Almond Board of Australia has now booked a trade delegation to Korea for November 2014 to introduce Australian almonds to this market.

The tariff on Australian macadamia nuts into Korea is currently a prohibitive 30 per cent, making it a difficult market for producers who first introduced the iconic delicacy to the country several years ago. With the tariff to drop to zero over five years under the FTA, the costs to Korean consumers will drop, leading to an increase in demand.

The Australian Macadamia Society plans to increase its promotional activity from the beginning of 2015 when the major tariff reductions will occur to take advantage of the change.

A new large scale hazelnut development will also see this sector of the industry increase production one hundred-fold within the next seven years, bringing further opportunities to the entire tree crop industry.

For more information, please contact Chaseley Ross on 0409 707 806; Richard Genest on 0439 703 147; Lynne Ziehlke 0488 032 248 (macadamias); or Ross Skinner 0448 049 202 (almonds)

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