The STAG has been operational since 2013 providing services to Australian abalone and rock lobster exporters to engage with government and to support in market access negotiations with unified and well researched considered input. The STAG has a track record of success based on a collaborative priority setting process and a clear focus on resolving the highest priority issues. While primarily focused on the issues faced by abalone and rock lobster exporters many of the STAG activities have benefited the broader seafood exporter community eg the International Freight Assistance Mechanism, tracking and communicating impacts of the COVID pandemic on markets, facilitating an agreed priority listing for adding new species to the approved import list for China and establishing a market intelligence service has been established and weekly newsletters keep Australian seafood exporters up to date on market trends and consumer insights as well as technical market access issues.
Seafood Industry Australia has recently developed a Seafood Industry Export Plan. As part of that plan SIA is building capability and has received Australian Government funding through the ATMAC funding to deliver trade facilitation services.
There is an opportunity for the STAG to move to a new expanded business model under the auspices of SIA capitalising on the resources and capacities of both organisations. The new model will include communications, governance, operations and funding. What that looks like and how that transition should occur will be addressed through application.
While the transition plan is being developed, agreed and implemented it is important that the STAG to continue operations, providing services as agreed by the Partnership Group. The international trade environment is still extremely volatile, as it has been for the past two years. The STAG provides a valuable early warning and quick response mechanism for dealing with disruptions, a market intelligence service and international seafood trade expertise to support the Abalone and Rock Lobster sectors as they face the challenging task of regaining and maintaining China market access while pursuing market diversification strategies.
There is a need to build additional seafood specific international trade knowledge and capacity so the STAG and SIA will work together to identify opportunities to facilitate this.