Australian food trade barriers revealed

The World Trade Indicators database shows Australia’s overall agricultural import protection to be equivalent to a uniform tariff of 36% across the sector. This is an astonishing result because Australia prides itself on having low barriers to agricultural imports. Indeed, the WTI database showsour agricultural tariff barriers equal to a uniform 1.2%. The overall result can only be due to non-tariff factors.

Quarantine perhaps? Effective bans on imports of chicken meat, fresh pork, beef, and restrictions on fresh shrimp etc from most destinations? Bans on banana imports from everywhere? Bans on apples from New Zealand? Bans on fresh vegetables from a host of countries?

If the WTI data is accurate—there’s every reason to think it’s close to the mark—then we are paying way over the odds for our supposed ‘unique environment’.

A spreadsheet with the summary data on tariff and non-tariff barriers for all 210 countries in the WTI database, showing the level of Australian agricultural protection is available for download from the WTI website here.

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