Advancing Australia's Access to the EU

AUSTRALIA - Although a relatively small market for Australia (12,838 tonnes swt exported in 2011) compared to the US, Japan and Korea, the EU remains the highest value export market for Australian beef on a per tonne basis. Australian beef exports to the EU in 2011 were valued at A$9,302/ tonne, with the next highest large export market (above 10,000 tonnes swt) Hong Kong, at $A5,856.
calendar icon 9 August 2012
clock icon 2 minute read

The EU has historically been a large importer of beef, supplementing local production, of which 50 per cent comes from the dairy herd. Australian beef only makes up 0.2 per cent of total EU supply; however, this product is mostly high quality, chilled product.

Beef has a strong presence across the range of EU cuisines. As domestic supplies dwindle in the EU and imports from traditional large South American suppliers become scarce, Australian beef is continuing to supply the premium end of the market with high quality grass and grainfed beef.

Using Australian quota

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 HQB ‘Hilton’ quota was established in 1968 as a concession for the introduction of EU beef support policies. The quota was split between historical exporters, with management rights given to the exporting countries. Australia’s allocation was fixed at 7,000 tonnes until 2006-07, when it was increased to 7,150 tonnes swt.

Access to the HQB grainfed quota, granted to Australia in 2010, has contributed to an expansion in Australian beef exports over the past few years. Australian beef exports to the EU increased 30 per cent in 2011 year-on-year to 12,838 tonnes swt. A further expansion in the quota, to 48,200 tonnes in August, will enhance Australia’s market access to this high value market.

Domestic supply shortfall

Domestic beef supply within the EU is expected to contract 2.8 per cent in 2012 (GIRA), with increased operating costs and higher prices in 2011 pulling many cattle forward that would have otherwise been processed in 2012. Between 2012 and 2020, domestic production is forecast to drop by 1.3% with beef and veal consumption predicted to fall 0.8 per cent on 2010 levels by 2020 (European Commission), leaving a shortfall in supply.

This, coupled with reductions in imports from traditional South American suppliers as their domestic markets heat up, should present an ongoing opportunity for Australian product entering the market.

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