Australia's melons, pumpkins granted access to Japan

Japan and Australia have announced that they have agreed on rules concerning market access for Australian melons and pumpkins to be sold in Japan, reports 

Australia's trade agreement with Japan has already eliminated tariffs on pumpkins and watermelons, with other melon tariffs due to disappear in 2019.

But local growers have been shut out of Japan until now, because the countries hadn't agreed on biosecurity rules for export.

With that resolved, trade can begin immediately.

In a statement, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said he was "confident the world-class quality of local produce will see our growers become very competitive in Japan in short order", and that the trade would deliver "significant benefits" for horticulturalists.

Australia grows more than 260,000 tonnes of melons and more than 110,000 tonnes of pumpkins each year, according to government figures.

But the varieties consumed locally are very different to those sought by Japanese consumers, and that means Australian growers will have to look carefully at how to take advantage of the new market.

Nonetheless, Mr Joyce said Japan represented an important new market for Australian watermelons, rockmelons and honeydew melons.

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