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Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement

Your Australia-UK FTA: Geraldton Fisherman’s Co-operative

Established in 1950, Geraldton Fishermen's Co-operative (GFC) is 100% owned by Australian fishers and license holders who supply the Co-operative. GFC specialises in the processing and export of seafood, notably the famous West Australian rock lobster.

In 2019, Australian rock lobster exports were worth over A$760 million, with the majority from Western Australia (A$488 million). The Western rock lobster industry is the largest single fishery in Australia by volume and value, and has a heavy export focus. GFC's sales strategy focuses on high-value export partners that currently include Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, the Middle East and the USA.

GFC is proud to support sustainably and responsibly managed fisheries.  Unlike the manufacturing or services sectors, product volume growth or 'scaling up' is not an option. Market diversification to deliver improved value remains an important strategic consideration, whilst also continuing to meet the needs of existing markets.

GFC fisherman catching lobster
Photo credit: GFC

GFC and many other Australian seafood exporters have flourished under Australia's Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Asian markets, which have facilitated two-way investment, increased Australian exports, and enhanced product and market diversification between Australia and our Asian neighbours.

CEO, Matt Rutter spoke about the importance of FTAs for GFC:

"Aside from the obvious benefits of removing tariffs, Australia's FTAs have engendered a higher level of business confidence for exporters like us when developing market expansion and diversification strategies. FTAs have helped foster growth for our business, as well as job creation."

On the potential benefits of an FTA with the UK, Mr Rutter said:

“Considering the strong historical, cultural and business ties between the United Kingdom and Australia, concluding an ambitious bilateral FTA will benefit both countries.  The elimination of tariffs for goods, including seafood, into a high-value market like the UK would strengthen trade growth for our co-operative.

We're encouraged that, even during this turbulent business climate, Australia continues to pursue preferential trade arrangements with important trading partners like the United Kingdom and the opportunities that arise from them."

Matt Rutter, CEO Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-Operative

Matt Rutter, CEO Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-Operative
Photo credit: GFC

Matt has spent the majority of his career working for cooperatives; where he has gained over 22 years’ experience trading and marketing food and food commodities worldwide. Matt joined GFC in 2014 as the General Manager of Marketing & Business Development before taking over as CEO in July 2018.

Prior to joining GFC, Matt held a number of senior positions with Australian export firms, notably as Head of Trading at Australia’s largest grain trader and cooperative, CBH and with a US based multinational.

Matt holds an honours degree in agribusiness marketing, a graduate diploma in applied finance and investment and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

In addition to his role at GFC, Matt has been a non-executive director on a number of not-for-profit Boards, most recently taking on the role of Chair of Tourism Geraldton Mid-West.

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