Tariff-free trade key

Friday October 13, 2023

IT has now been close to three years since China introduced steep tariffs and sanctions on many Australian exports.

Locally, this had major impacts on our seafood, wine and agricultural industries.

Last month the Premier travelled to China with a delegation of leaders from key trade sectors, including representatives from local seafood and winery businesses, with the aim of renewing partnerships and exploring further trade opportunities.

This trip could have a significant impact for the Limestone Coast, in particular our southern rock lobster fishers.

In 2019, over 90 per cent of lobster exports were sent to China and finding alternative markets for this premium product has proven difficult.

While continuing to explore diversification is necessary, the resumption of tariff-free trade is of vital importance to the future success of the industry.

Through the Premier's trip, business owners and representatives including Andrew Ferguson from Five Star Seafoods and Kirsty Balnaves from Balnaves of Coonawarra, have been given the opportunity to advocate for our world-class products and build relationships with Chinese partners.

This year has seen the resumption of trade with China on a range of products including barley and timber, and last week also saw the announcement of the lifting of trade impediments on hay which is fantastic news for South East growers.

With continued advocacy from the State Government and industry leaders, we await the same outcome for our lobster and wine industries.

Troy Bell, Member for Mount Gambier