MLA forum: Aust well placed to increase EU share

James Nason, 29/04/2014

Australia’s export beef industry is well positioned to increase its share of the high-value EU import market in the next 12 months, a Meat & Livestock Australia producer forum was told yesterday.

The EU is a relatively low-volume market, with imports restricted to two quotas – the 7150t per year Hilton grassfed quota, and the 48,200t per year grainfed quota, which was introduced in 2010 and is shared on a competitive basis between Australia, the US, Uruguay, Canada and New Zealand.

Despite the limitation on volumes, the EU is Australia’s highest-value beef market, with exports to the region averaging $9.80/kg, well above next-placed Singapore at $6/kg.

Australia’s grassfed export volumes have remained relatively consistent at the quota level of 7150t per year, while exports of grainfed beef have increased year on year since the 48,200t grainfed quota was introduced in 2010.

MLA’s EU region manager Michael Crowley said Australia’s share of the EU grainfed quota has been growing at a faster rate than its competitors in recent years.

Data from the EU commission indicated that in 2012-13, Australia’s share of the EU grainfed beef imports was 27pc (8700t), and is on track to grow in 2013-14 to 33pc, with a total export volume of 13,000t.

US exports in 2013-14 are expected to total 19,000t, representing about 51pc of the market, with Uruguay accounting for around 9000t, and Canada 1000t.

Mr Crowley said Australia appeared well placed to continue to grow its market share next year.

Signs were emerging that available US supply for the EU market could be coming under pressure from strong demand and increasing values for US product in its own domestic market.

EU importers filled only 31,000t of the 48,200t quota in 2012-13, but were set to fill about 41,000t in 2013-14, as demand for grainfed beef across the region grows.

“The EU itself is a mature meat market, but grainfed beef, particularly on the continent is a very new product,” Mr Crowley said.

“We have only had access since 2010, so as a result there are great opportunities for grainfed beef across the region.


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