EU Import Quotas Fall Short in 2011

EU & AUSTRALIA - Figures from the International Meat Trade Association (IMTA) and the European Commission’s Taxation and Customs, indicate that the majority of EU beef Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQ’s) were not filled during 2011. Australian beef and sheepmeat exports are restricted to the EU under a variety of TRQ’s, limiting Australia’s access to the EU - a market of 500 million consumers.
calendar icon 26 March 2012
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Meat & Livestock Australia

Meat and Livestock Australia report that the majority of Australian beef is shipped to the EU under both the High Quality Beef (HQB) ‘Hilton’ beef quota (7,150 tonnes Australian access) and the HQB grainfed beef quota (20,000 tonne access shared with eligible nations).

The ‘Hilton’ quota is administered on a financial year basis and has a total allocation of 65,250 tonnes swt, with 23,333 tonnes swt unallocated in 2010-11.

Argentina is the largest quota holder, at 28,000 tonnes swt – filling 93 per cent of its allocation in 2010-11. Brazil (allocation of 10,000 tonnes), the US & Canada (11,500 tonnes) however fell well short of using their full quota allocations, using only five per cent respectively.

In 2010-11 Australia used 90 per cent of its allocation, while in the three preceding years utilised 99 per cent of the allocated total.

The HQB grainfed quota was opened in 2009, with Australia gaining access in January 2010. Access is shared between the US, Australia, New Zealand, Uruguay and Canada and administered on a financial year basis.

In 2010-11 90 per cent of the 20,000 tonnes was utilised, with Australia shipping 4,038 tonnes swt of grainfed product. The grainfed quota is to increase to 48,200 tonnes swt in August 2012.

Other beef TRQ’s, of which Australia has access, were also significantly under supplied in 2011. The manufacturing beef TRQ, of which there is global access of 63,703 tonnes, was only 22% utilised, while the frozen thin skirt TRQ, with 1,500 tonnes of access, was only 53 per cent utilised.

With the stalling of the current Doha round of WTO negotiations and an Australian-EU comprehensive Treaty Agreement still to be completed, significant short-term increases in market access for Australian beef and sheepmeat to the EU look limited, with the exception of the increase in the HQB grainfed beef quota in August 2012.

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