Australian table grape exports to Korea have continuously increased year on year, with a three-fold increase each year from 162 tonnes in 2017; 776 tons in 2018 and 3,224 tons in 2019. To cope with the increased volumes, the Korean Government dispatched an additional inspector to Mildura to help inspect containers prior to shipping.
Korean consumers prefer premium, fresh, high brix and large table grapes. Importers view Australian grapes favourably as it allows them to stock new varieties and gives them a point of difference against Chilean grapes. Korean importers have indicated they will introduce several new varieties to Korean consumers this season, including Sweet Sapphire and Autumn Crisp as well as candy heart, sweet grove, midnight beauty and long Thompson.
Under KAFTA, the seasonal tariff for Australian grapes from December to April under KAFTA is zero. From 1 May to 30 November the tariff rate is 45% to protect the local table grape producers. Korean importers and retailers comment that March and April is the ideal time for Australian table grapes to be sold as there is limited competition in the market.
Chilean grapes are still a major competitor to Australian grapes during this period owing to their competitive price, however many Korean industry representatives commented that Australian table grapes have potential to keep increasing market share by positioning them as a premium product and highlighting the sweetness and new varieties.