India’s Mutton and Lamb Market Further Opened for Australia

Sustainability & Environmental Impact
On 2nd April 2022, India and Australia signed a trade agreement removing the previous 30% tariff rate and securing free entry of lamb and mutton from Australia to India. While India is nearly self-sufficient in terms of sheepmeat, Australia’s sheep meat industry is hoping that their previous success of establishing presence on even small markets will prove useful in the further penetration of the Indian market.

New trade agreement removes tariff rate on sheep meat

On 2 April 2022, India and Australia signed the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA), which will further open up many areas of trade between the two countries. For agricultural exports, one of the most noteworthy parts of the agreement is that 30% tariffs on lamb and mutton will be eliminated. While India has previously been a minor market for Australian mutton exports, with only 110 mt of primarily premium cuts being exported to India over the past five years the sheep industry is now hopeful that the elimination of tariffs would pave the way for increased exports to cater for the high-end Indian retail market and gourmet restaurants.

Trade data from 2020 show that India imported sheep and goat meat primarily from New Zealand (USD 336,000), United States (USD 98,700) and Australia (USD 73,200). At the same time, India’s production of sheep meat reached 280,751 mt in 2020, which suggests that the market is self sufficient.as of now.

Australia already present on many smaller markets

The Australian sheep meat industry hangs their hopes on their previous success with carefully matching specific cuts with cuisines and markets and their good reputation in terms of food safety and quality. In 2021, Australia exported 140,602 mt of mutton of which 57,343 mt (40%) was destined for China. Following the big markets of the USA 22,743 mt (16%) and Malaysia 16,881 mt (12%) are a long string of countries importing low quantities such as United Arab Emirates with 3,121 mt (2.2%), Oman 2,155 mt (1.5%), Kuwait with 991 mt (0.7%) and Philippines 81 mt (0.05%)

A similar pattern can be observed for the Australian lamb exports in 2021, where USA and China are also the main export markets absorbing 70,606 (27%) and 62.882 (24%) respectively of the 264,823 mt total Australian lamb export. At 4,171 mt (1.6%), Jordan is a fairly small market as is the case with Bahrain 616 mt (0.23%),Thailand 513 mt (0.2%) and Germany 129 mt (0.05%). These export figures, of which the exports to many nations comprise only small proportions of the total export, are a testimony to Australia’s ability to penetrate even the smallest of markets and make the most of their presence on them. The slashing of the 30% tariff rate on the vast Indian market is likely to increase the mutton and lamb exports from Australia on this market. 

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