Australia’s booming craft industry is set to take a major hit in the coming months as the Federal Government seeks to rein in the export of agricultural products from overseas.
Key points:Fruits and vegetables, including those made from the dried fruit and vegetable pods, are forecast to be exported in record volumes this yearMr Morrison has vowed to curb the export boom and has ordered a review of the trade rulesThe Government has set a target of exporting more than 3 million tonnes of fruit and vegetables this year by the end of this financial year, and another 3 million by 2019, but there is concern that a shortfall in exports will result in a major increase in the prices charged for those products.
“This is going to be an industry-wide issue,” Mr Morrison said in Brisbane on Monday.
“There are a lot of questions around what we can do, what the right measures are, and how much of an impact on prices are going to come from that.”
He said the Government was committed to reducing Australia’s import dependency on imports, but acknowledged that it would take time to work out exactly what the impact will be.
“We will have to take into account the effect on prices, the impact on jobs, the effect to our exports,” he said.
“That will be the key thing.”
Mr Morrison’s Government has pledged to halve Australia’s imports of fruit, vegetables and fruit-based products by 2019.
“The Government will ensure that this falls by half by 2019,” he told reporters in Brisbane.
“I am committed to doing that.”
However, the Federal Agriculture Minister said the target for the export market would need to be met before there was any change to the rules around fruit and/or vegetable exports.
“It’s not just about the export markets.
It’s about what we’re importing,” Mr Abbott said.
“And that will depend on what we want to import from overseas.”‘
The export market is the only one of the export sectors that is not under any strain’The import dependency has been a big concern for Mr Morrison.
He said in the last 12 months he had asked a number of ministers to look at how to reduce the number of exports, and he had also been asked to look into ways to improve the import dependency.
“Import dependence is the most significant factor for our export market, and that’s why we’re committed to improving it,” he explained.
“So it’s not only going to impact on the export industry, it’s going to affect our trade relationships with overseas.”
And the export sector is the last place that you would think that you’d be under any sort of strain.
“You would think it’s a zero-sum game, and I think it is a zero sum game, as we’ve seen in the past.”‘
We’re going to get to the point where the export price of apples is no longer the price we pay for apples’Mr Morrison also said that the Government would be “very open to the possibility” of changing the export rules to allow for exports of produce and vegetables that had been grown in Australia.
“What we’re trying to do is make sure that we are not under-producing,” he conceded.
“If we can find a way to allow that to happen, we’ll be very open to that.”
Mr Abbott said he believed the Government could still be able to reduce Australia’s imported fruit and produce from the world’s top 20 agricultural commodities.
“Obviously, the export system is the one of our greatest strengths,” he admitted.
“But it’s also the greatest weakness.”