AUSTRALIAN potato farmers will enjoy improved access to the Thai market after two key commitments were realised under the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA).
Thailand has now implemented zero tariffs and the removal of tariff-rate quotas that limited access for Australian seed and processing potatoes.
Federal agriculture minister, David Littleproud, said the removal of limits was a boost for potato farmers.
"This is an important market access improvement for the Australian potato industry," Minister Littleproud said.
"In addition to being exempt from tariffs, Australian farmers can now export seed and processing potatoes at any time of the year.
"This is a fantastic outcome for our producers and exporters who already have well-established relationships with Thai buyers."
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Ausveg national manager - export development, Michael Coote, said Thailand was an emerging market for Australian potatoes in particular.
"Even in the midst of the current economic climate, demand has continued to be strong for Australian fresh vegetables and potatoes in export markets, with enquiries still coming in from a range of international trading partners," Mr Coote said.
"Australian potatoes and vegetables enjoy a positive reputation in international markets for quality and reliability of supply.
Our seed potatoes are used by Thai farmers to grow potatoes locally while processing potatoes are used to make products like potato chips.
"This is another positive outcome of the government's agenda to establish FTAs with trading partners to increase international trade and improve export conditions for Australian businesses.
Last year, Thailand was Australia's second-largest potato export market, at $4.6 million, and the removal of remaining constraints could only help exports.
"Our seed potatoes are used by Thai farmers to grow potatoes locally while processing potatoes are used to make products like potato chips," Mr Littleproud said
Processing potatoes produced in all states are permitted to import into Thailand subject to phytosanitary requirements.
Seed potatoes from South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia are currently approved by Thailand's Department of Agriculture to be exported to Thailand.
Tariffs for Australian seed and processing potatoes have decreased,on an annual basis from 27 per cent, in 2005 to zero in 2020 under TAFTA.
Previously, exports of Australian seed and processing potatoes to Thailand were constrained, with a limited volume (just under 115 tons in 2019) able to access the beneficial TAFTA tariffs.
Thailand was Australia's second largest potato export market in 2019 ($AUD4.6m) after the Republic of Korea.
In 2019, Thailand was Australia's 11th largest export market for vegetables.
In the 2018/19 financial year, Australian vegetable exports to Thailand were valued at AUD$15 million, following strong growth in the Thai market over the past three years.
The top vegetable exports to Thailand are onions, carrots, potatoes, celery and broccoli; potatoes make up 25 per cent of total Australian vegetable exports to Thailand.
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