Live western rock lobster will soon be exported to India following successful negotiations between a West Australian company and an Indian distribution company.
- Legislation implementing the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement passed through parliament this week
- It opens trade doors, such as the negotiated agreement to send WA lobster to Indian hotels
- Once the agreement is enacted, other commodities like mandarins and lamb could be sent to new Indian markets
After its signature in April this year, legislation implementing the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) passed through federal parliament this week, alongside the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (Australia-UK FTA).
Trade minister Don Farrell said the trade agreements would commence “30 days, or another mutually agreed time, after the respective parties have confirmed in writing that they have completed their domestic requirements”.
Once the trade agreement is enacted, the 30-per-cent import tariff on live Australian lobster into India will be removed.
WA’s biggest lobster exporter, The Geraldton Fishermen’s Cooperative, will send a “modest” amount of lobster to high-end restaurants and hotel chains and will work to develop further markets in India.
A 30-per-cent tariff on frozen lobster products and other seafood like fish will be removed over seven years.
It’s welcome news for the lobster industry, which has struggled with prices after losing its main customer China in 2020.
Interest in oats, citrus and wine
WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development manager of investment services Susan Hall said India was a small but important market for WA produce.
In July this year, more than 110 delegates from WA businesses travelled to four Indian cities over 10 days to develop relationships and conduct business matching.
Ms Hall said 200 kilograms of western rock lobster travelled to India with the group, which marked the first rock lobster to be imported from Australia into India.
“Trade is a marathon, not a sprint, but we’re already seeing some great commercial outcomes with the rock lobster in particular,” she said.
Additionally, there is potential for other Australian produce to be imported to India, Ms Hall says.
“We’re also seeing interest across other products like citrus and oats,” she said.
“We already export a good volume of oats into India but, if there’s supply chain capacity … there’s quite a lot of interest for products like oat milk.”
Ms Hall said there would also be a reduction in wine tariffs to allow premium wines to be imported to India.
“We’d like to see the opportunity for high-end hotels in particular to be able to look at West Australian wine,” she said.
With the Indian population at about 1 billion, Ms Hall said the proportion of individuals with a high net worth was about 30 million.
“There are more high-net-worth individuals in India than there are people in Australia,” she said.
“That makes a huge market for our premium products like lamb, lobster and wine.”