Following successful negotiations between a Western Australian company and an Indian distribution company, live western rock lobster will soon be exported to India.
Most important points:
- Legislation to implement the economic cooperation and trade agreement between Australia and India was passed by parliament this week
- It opens trade doors, such as the negotiated agreement to send WA lobster to Indian hotels
- Once the agreement is in place, other products such as mandarins and lamb could be shipped to new Indian markets
After being signed in April this year, the Australia-India Economic Co-operation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) Implementation Act was passed by the Federal Parliament this week, along with the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement (Australia-UK FTA).
Commerce Secretary Don Farrell said the trade agreements would take effect “30 days, or such other mutually agreed time, after the respective parties confirm in writing that they have met their domestic requirements.”
Once the trade deal comes into effect, the 30 percent import tariff on live Australian lobster in India will be lifted.
WA’s largest lobster exporter, The Geraldton Fishermen’s Cooperative, will ship a “modest” amount of lobster to upscale restaurants and hotel chains and will work to develop further markets in India.
A 30 percent tariff on frozen lobster products and other seafood such as fish will be phased out in seven years.
It’s good news for the lobster industry, which is struggling with prices after losing its main customer China in 2020.
Interest in oats, citrus and wine
WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development investment services manager Susan Hall said India is a small but important market for WA products.
In July this year, more than 110 WA company delegates traveled to four Indian cities for 10 days to build relationships and conduct business matching.
Ms Hall said 200 kilograms of western rock lobster traveled to India with the group, marking the first rock lobster to be imported into India from Australia.
“Trade is a marathon, not a sprint, but we’re already seeing some great commercial results with the rock lobster in particular,” she said.
In addition, there is a possibility of other Australian products being imported to India, says Ms Hall.
“We also see interest in other products such as citrus and oats,” she said.
“We already export a fair volume of oats to India, but if there is capacity in the supply chain… there is quite a lot of interest in products like oat milk.”
Ms Hall said there would also be a reduction in wine tariffs to allow premium wines to be imported into India.
“We would like to see the opportunity for luxury hotels in particular to be able to look at Western Australian wine,” she said.
With an Indian population of about 1 billion, Ms Hall said the proportion of high wealth individuals was about 30 million.
“There are more high net worth individuals in India than there are people in Australia,” she said.
“That creates a huge market for our premium products such as lamb, lobster and wine.”