Review of Horticulture Export Efficiency Powers

On 21 December 2012 Senator the Hon. Joe Ludwig, the then Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, announced the outcomes of the review of the horticulture export efficiency powers.

The Horticulture Marketing and Research and Development Services [Regulated Horticultural Products and Markets] Orders for oranges to all export markets; and mandarins, tangelos, grapefruit, lemons and limes to the United States of America will remain in place until 31 January 2015.

At the request of the citrus industry the single importer arrangement for the export of citrus to the US will be replaced with a Citrus to US Marketing Program. The Citrus to US Marketing Program, which is subject to Horticulture Australia Limited obtaining approval from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for an exception under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, will operate in a similar way to the current Citrus to China Marketing Program. Both marketing programs will operate until 31 January 2015.

Background

The export licensing of horticultural products is provided for under the Horticulture Marketing and Research and Development Services Act 2000 (HMRDS Act) and its associated regulations and orders.

The regulations enable Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL), in consultation with industry, to place broad ranging conditions on the export of horticultural produce including; requiring use of a specific exporting or importing agent, or specifying quality standards (colour, shape or size) for produce destined for export.

The 2010–2014 statutory funding agreement between the Commonwealth and HAL requires that export licensing be reviewed against the principles of National Competition Policy. This policy provides that legislation or regulations that restrict competition should be retained only if:

  • the benefits to the community as a whole outweigh the costs
  • the objectives of the legislation/regulation can be achieved only by restricting competition.

An interdepartmental government committee was established to undertake a review. It commissioned the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) to review the regulation of horticultural exports enabled by Horticulture Marketing and Research and Development Services Act 2000 and subordinate legislation1. The terms of reference for the review required ABARES to assess the regulations against the principles of national competition policy.

Orders that were in place at the time of the review enabled HAL to set licence conditions on the export of:

  • oranges to all export markets
  • mandarins, tangelos, grapefruit, lemons and limes to the United States
  • apples to all export markets
  • pears to all export markets
  • dried grapes to all export markets.

Following extensive consultation ABARES completed its draft report in June 2012. The draft report can be downloaded below:

The draft report concluded the arrangements for the regulation of horticulture exports do not meet the requirements of national competition policy and recommended the arrangements be discontinued. In completing the review, and forming this recommendation, ABARES considered the written submissions from consultation during the period of November-December 2011 and the outcomes of stakeholder meetings during March 2012.

The inter-departmental committee guiding the review sought written submissions on the draft report and its recommendations from July to August 2012. ABARES considered these submissions and its response to the submissions can be downloaded below:

ABARES review of the submissions found no reason to alter the conclusions and recommendations of the draft report.

View submissions made to the review.

For more information on HAL’s export licensing role please visit the HAL website.


1 This is separate to the powers conferred to the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service and its agents under the Export Control Act 1982 and subordinate legislation.