Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry Exports

Australia exports more agricultural products than we import, with around 70% of our total agricultural production sent overseas. China remains Australia’s largest single export market, worth approximately $17 billion in 2022-23. The market share of other Asian markets continued to expand, particularly in the fast-growing ASEAN economies.

The Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) has issued a media release today (29 January 2024) titled Overview – Agriculture, fisheries, and forestry exports in 2022-23.

According to their release, Australia exported $80.4 billion in agriculture, fisheries and forestry products in the 2022–23 financial year – a record high, and a 17% increase on the previous year. Record crop production in 2022-23 coincided with an increase in demand for Australian grain due to global supply disruptions and increased prices, allowing significant gains for Australian farmers. Exporters benefited from decreasing input costs such as fertiliser and freight.

Export markets
According to the Rural Bank website, growth was a consistent story across Australian agriculture’s major export markets last year. The top 13 markets all recorded year-on-year growth and the top 12 markets all achieved record highs.

China was the largest growth market in dollar terms, worth approximately $17 billion in 2022-23. This expansion was led by an increase in wheat exports as well as beef, almonds and cotton.

The market share of other Asian markets continued to grow, particularly for fast-growing economies in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ($19 billion).

The substantial increase in the value of wheat exports helped drive growth of over $1 billion or more across four markets in particular: Vietnam, South Korea, Indonesia and Thailand. Vietnam saw the largest growth of these markets thanks to strong growth in both cotton and wheat exports.

Japan and the US retained their places as Australian agriculture’s second and third most valuable markets but both saw modest growth of less than 10%.

Market highlights for the year from DAFF’s media release include:

  • The value of exports to India increased +106% on the previous year after the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) entered into force in December 2022.
  • In 2022-23, Australia was a leading exporter of lentils and other pulses. Temporary tariff-free access for lentils to India, which was extended until 31 March 2025, contributed to the increase in exports.
  • The start of 2023 saw some tariffs reduced to 0% under existing trade agreements. For example, from 1 January 2023, sheep and goat meat to the Republic of Korea became tariff-free under the Korea—Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA).
  • The value of exports to Indonesia increased +25% to $4.9 billion, as growing bilateral trade continued to support Indonesia’s economic development.
  • Exports to Mexico increased +71% to $482.2 million in 2022-23. This included the commencement of exports of canola which reached $169.9 million.

Australia is in a unique position to capitalise on key Asian export markets in 2023–24 given its proximity to the region. For example, economic growth and consumption are expected to remain resilient in southeast Asia, supporting demand for Australian agricultural exports. Rising consumption growth in China is also supporting demand for Australian agricultural exports. Additionally, Australia’s relatively low exchange rate – expected to average US65 cents in 2023–24 – should support the value of exports in the short term as most agricultural exports are contracted in US dollars. For exports contracted in Australian dollars, a longer-term lower Australian dollar would further increase the competitiveness of Australia’s agricultural exports.

For more information about international trade and shipping, whether for agriculture or secondary industries and services, contact us here at Colless Young. As licensed Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders we offer correct, professional advice on all your global transportation requirements. We are based in Brisbane and provide a complete range of logistics services, both airfreight and sea cargo, through all Australian ports and airports.