The trade balance lost further ground by $74 million in 2013-14. The value of imports increased vegetable by 12% from the previous year to $758 million while the value of exports increased by 4% to $256 million. The deficit of imports over exports fell to $502 million. The negative trade balance remains more than double the deficit of five years ago. Nine years ago the vegetable trade balance was positive.
All four major categories of vegetable exports only experienced marginal changes in 2013 14. Processed exports experienced the most significant percentage fall of 15 per cent, however this was more than offset by increases in fresh (3%), other (15%) and frozen (5%) vegetables. Fresh vegetables continues to be the largest category by a significant margin, accounting for 62% of the total value of vegetable exports in 2013-14.
New Zealand, Japan and Singapore have been the top three export destination countries for the last nine years. In 2013-14, Australian vegetable exports to Japan and New Zealand fell by 9% and 4% respectively. However, vegetable exports to Singapore increased by 11%. Japan continues to be Australia’s leading export destination, occupying 18% of the total market. More broadly and promising story among the main export destinations has been the continual rise in exports to both the Asian and Middle East regions.
The total value of vegetable imports rose by 12% in 2013-14. Processed imports increased the most, growing by 19%, on 2012-13. In addition, frozen vegetable imports increased by 12 per cent whilst other vegetable imports increased by 7 per cent. Fresh vegetable imports were the only category that experienced a fall, around 3 per cent. Processed vegetable imports continued to be the largest types of imports in 2013-14, similar to 2012-13. Import pressure remains concentrated in both processed and frozen categories, combined occupying around 75% of the market.
New Zealand, China, the United States and Italy continued to be the major country of origin of imports in 2012-13, a position unchanged this century, supplying 63% of total vegetable imports. The most notable feature was the increase in imports from both New Zealand 18% and Italy 36%. Imports from China fell by 2%, equivalent to around $2 million in value.
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