COVID-19, Exports, Australian Federal Government, Australia

Australian Government support for Australian seafood exporters and other COVID-19 developments

02 April 2020

On 1 April 2020, the Australian Federal Government announced a new financial package to support exports of seafood to overseas markets as well as to increase funding of the Export Market Development Grant scheme (EMDG). This is one of a series of financial support packages released as part of Australia’s response to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Support for the increase in air cargo services.

Details of the funding and support can be found in a joint Press Release by the Hon. Michael McCormack MP, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, The Hon David Littleproud MP and Senator the Hon. Jonathon Duniam.

These measures will support Australian exporters of seafood and other primary produce whose markets were among the first hit by the effect of the COVID-19 crisis in China. Government funding of $110 million will enable emergency freight flights of Australian produce to be delivered to Asian destinations including China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore as well as the United Arab Emirates. The return flights will then be utilised to bring back medical equipment and supplies ordered by Australian authorities. These flights will work to replace some of the air cargo capacity lost when domestic and international passenger flights were cancelled.

Additional funding for the EMDG scheme.

At the same time as the announcement of funding for additional air cargo services, the Federal government also announced a significant increase in funding to the EMDG scheme. The increase brings the funding commitment to its highest level for more than 20 years.

The Export Council of Australia (ECA) has been pressing for increases to fully fund the EMDG Scheme for many years and as an ECA Director, I am pleased to see this come to fruition. It is hoped that the additional funding will continue beyond the current crisis. Further information and statements from the Hon. Simon Birmingham MP on this funding is available on the ECA Website.

Encouraging news for Australian and International companies operating into China.

The Chinese Government has announced new financial support to strengthen commercial activity and investment in China. More information is available in this article from my colleague Evan Chuck and his team at Crowell & Moring LLP.

New IATA web-page.

The International Air Trade Association (IATA) has also established a new web-page consolidating information on the issues faced by industry, as well as news on available air freight. This information on available air freight capacity is vital as countries and companies work to facilitate international trade and keep the borders open.

We will keep you informed of relevant developments as more announcements are made and look forward to discussing these in our webinar for the Customs Brokers and Forwarders Council of Australia on 8 April 2020.

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