Australia and the EU are longstanding and like-minded trade partners, with overall bilateral trade in goods worth €38.6 billion in 2019.
This includes trade in agrifoods, worth a total of €4.20 billion in 2019. The balance of trade is in the EU’s favour in this area, with a trade surplus of €1.9 billion in 2019. For example, 2019 EU pork exports to Australia (€257 million) comfortably outweighed Australian beef exports to the EU (€132 million).
Australian red meat exports to the EU are currently restricted by the EU’s low volume import quotas and high out-of-quota import tariffs. Australia consistently fills its country-specific quotas and once fully subscribed is unable to respond to additional EU customer demands for high quality imported red meat.
Two recent developments have further restricted Australia’s access to the EU market. First, Brexit resulted in an apportionment of Australia’s previous EU28 import quotas between the EU27 and the UK. Second, an agreement concluded by the EU and the U.S. in 2019 resulted in the ringfencing of a share of the global grainfed beef import quota for the U.S. alone. Australia previously shared access to the full quota with other countries, such as the U.S. and Argentina, on a first-come-first-served basis.
MLA hopes that the EU Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) currently under negotiation will provide more opportunities for two way trade, including in high quality Australian red meat.