IN avoidance of a hefty 30 per cent tariff on imported food products, rebranded Australian sheepmeat is being smuggled into India via the Middle East.
Relaxing religious taboos in the predominantly Hindu country among young people has stimulated an increase in demand for red meat in recent years.
“The big barrier for Australia is the 30pc tariff – it is killing us,” Meat and Livestock Australia’s regional manager of southern Asia, Andrew Simpson said.
“The same product can go to the Middle East with a zero tariff, reformatted, and come across to India and bypass that 30pc on-cost.
“The (export) pipeline traffic is going to the Middle East, absolutely, and coming back into India reformed (rebranded), for both Australia and New Zealand lamb.”
Despite the trade barrier, Mr Simpson said it was a country worth watching with the 1.4 billion population offering market opportunities as big as Australia’s China trade. The corruption crackdown impacted the purchases of goods in late 2016 and early 2017.