Some of Andrew Finlay's first lot of peaches from his Pikedale farm in October.
Some of Andrew Finlay's first lot of peaches from his Pikedale farm in October. Liana Turner

Easier exports for Granite Belt growers

GRANITE Belt fruit producers can now more easily export to Asian markets.

Federal Member for Maranoa David Littleproud said this was made possible by tariff cuts which came into effect this month.

"Our trade agreements - secured by the Coalition Government - give our exporters a significant competitive advantage, not only making it easier and cheaper to export our goods and services to the world but also means more jobs created locally,” Mr Littleproud said.

"January 2017 marked the start of new tariff cuts and now our apricot exports to China enjoy a tariff cut by more than half.

"Before the China Agreement came into force, local apricot exports faced a 25% tariff, now its 10% with further significant cuts to happen in the coming years.”

He said the new year also meant plum exports to Korea now faced a tariff of only 27%, as opposed to 45% before the Korean Export agreement.

"It's also exciting that other Southern Downs produce - such as wine and fresh cherries - are already entering Korea tariff free,” Mr Littleproud said.

"There's also more good news to come with tariffs to be cut in April for exports to Japan.”

He said the accessibility of Wellcamp Airport also opened up the potential for export expansion for growers.

"During November last year, the Federal Coalition Government officially announced the Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport was classified a regional international gateway under Australia's air services arrangements, which was great news for Maranoa,” he said.

"This announcement delivered our election commitment to support the airport in attracting increased international services as part of the regional package and proves our commitment to growing regional communities in Maranoa.

"This decision means producers and other businesses in my electorate can reap the rewards of a localised freight service, opening the door to more easily sell fresh produce in the growing Asian market.”

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