The Importance of our Export Trade
“Why is so much importance placed on opening up export opportunities when such a small percentage of AAA members actually export alpacas”. I have been asked this, or a very similar question, a number of times. It is a fair question and I understand the inference behind it ie “you are just supporting the big breeders”. The reference to “big breeders” being the only ones to export may have been a fair comment a number of years ago, however not so prior to the closure of the export pathway into New Zealand. At the time of the NZ market access closure in early 2018 there were an increasing number of small to middle sized breeders participating in the export market reflecting the advancement of their respective breeding programs. Dare I say “size doesn’t matter – quality does”. This trend of increased participation by small/middle sized studs was also evident when analysing the National Sales Auction results from 2001 – 2018 where a number of animals sold were purchased by International buyers.
A recent review conducted by the Market Access and Trade Committee highlighted how our entire membership can benefit either directly or indirectly if we can open export borders. There is a definite positive cascading effect on animal sales and prices at all levels in our industry when we are able to export. It is for these reasons that the AAA is continuing to work with the Australian Department of Agriculture to reopen trade pathways and capitalize on new market opportunities.
Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL)
The ASEL sets the minimum animal health and welfare requirements the livestock export industry must comply with when exporting live animals. ASEL have published the results of their most recent review of Air Transport requirements which are to take effect on 1 November 2020. The new standards have reduced the stocking density for alpacas i.e. the number of alpacas that can go into the export crate on the aircraft. Whilst being 100% mindful of the animals’ health and welfare, given there have not been any reported health or welfare issues over many years of exporting alpacas, the AAA is preparing a submission questioning the validity of the new stocking rates.
Market Access into New Zealand.
As previously advised the newly developed Q Fever testing protocol proposal was presented by the Australian government to the New Zealand government for consideration in April. After their initial review, NZ MPI have requested some technical clarification and discussions are continuing. History tells me it would be unwise to put a timeframe on when we expect an outcome. I acknowledge the frustration with the time this process is taking, however highlight the positive “whilst the two countries are consulting – there is still hope for a positive outcome” As has always been the case, MPI have to approve the new test in order to allow market access to resume from Australia into New Zealand.
Market Access into United Kingdom.
A joint Working Party between the MATC and our counterparts in the British Alpaca Society has been formed to explore the feasibility of direct market access from Australia to the UK. This request was made by the MATC as we believe it opportune timing given “Brexit” and the Australian/UK Free Trade agreement negotiations. We will keep you informed of our progress.
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