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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