China's growing appetite for Aussie macadamias just got bigger

17 Nov 2014

China's growing appetite for Aussie macadamias is about to get bigger, following today's historic Australia-China free trade agreement which will remove the 24% tariff on macadamia imports from Australia within five years.

China is the Australian macadamia industry's largest trading partner, devouring 27% of the Australian crop, so the deal represents a massive opportunity for the industry and Australia's 600 macadamia growers, says Australian Macadamia Society Chief Executive Officer Jolyon Burnett.

"The Australian nut industry is the largest horticultural exporter bringing in over $500 million annually in export earnings. This trade will continue to grow on the back of the China, Japan and Korean FTAs. We congratulate Ministers Robb and Joyce and their negotiating teams for their determination and commitment to removing barriers to increased trade. This agreement is good for Australian macadamia growers and for macadamia exports," said Mr. Burnett.

"China, and the Asia Pacific region are a large and growing market for our industry, and this agreement, coupled with the Japan and Korea FTAs, supports our strategy to build further growth in this market," said Mr. Burnett.

The Chinese love affair with Aussie macadamia nuts has grown exponentially over the last three years, and in 2014 it is expected that 11,000 tonnes will be shipped to China (more than double that shipped in 2013).

Mr. Burnett said the Australian macadamia industry is already well advanced in its development of trade links with China and other key Asian markets, with significant market research undertaken into the Chinese market in anticipation of the FTA. He also recently visited China's main macadamia growing region on a trade mission.

"This is not the beginning of our journey into this market, it's another significant step," he said. "Currently the Chinese market is 'in-shell' although we are exploring the opportunities to value-add.

Today's deal supports an already booming Asian demand for Australian macadamias. Approximately 52% of Aussie macadamias are currently exported to Asia.

The growing Asian appetite for macadamia nuts is being driven by China and Japan (the two largest export countries), and new markets like Korea and Taiwan, where consumers are beginning to associate macadamias with health, beauty and wellbeing.

"As well as consumers' increasing awareness of the health benefits of nuts in relation to heart disease, diabetes and weight management, these growing Asian markets place a high priority on clean, green production and appreciate the premium product Australia can deliver," says Mr. Burnett.

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