FTAs Sweeten the deal for Manuka Honey Producer
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With a rich history in beekeeping, Biosota Organics specialises in selling
Manuka honey. Established only three years ago, the company has since
expanded its business to international markets thanks partly to Australia’s
Free Trade Agreements.
Originally hailing from Russia, Biosota has a long history of beekeeping
and bee farming. Its Australian operation was established three years ago
in the northern Sydney suburb of Mount Ku-ring-gai, and the company has
quickly become one of Australia’s top producers of Manuka honey.
Sourced from bee farms along Australia’s east coast, the family-owned
business distributes its niche honey products to health and organic food
stores, as well as duty-free stores in Australian international airports.
More recently the company has started to increase its exports and currently
distributes products to: China, South Korea, Brunei, Singapore, Vietnam,
the US and Canada. Biosota is also planning to commence exporting to Japan
Honey on the up
Biosota Organics is headed by Andrey Zubko, who has been exporting since
1991, starting in the wine industry. He established Biosota after deciding
to return to his honey-based heritage and pick up the reins of the family
The company currently has three full-time staff in Sydney and takes on
casuals during busy periods.
‘We’ve outgrown our current manufacturing facility in Sydney’s Mount
Ku-ring-gai and are setting up a new facility on the Gold Coast,’ says
‘Having two manufacturing facilities in our key production locations works
out better for us economically, and with sales growing as they are, this
expansion is really important for us to sustain our production.’
Manuka honey: a health elixir
Manuka honey is widely produced throughout Australia. ‘However, it's not
well known that Australia has more varieties of Manuka honey than New
Zealand,’ says Zubko.
Manuka honey is prized for its antibacterial properties, which inhibits the
growth of many pathogenic bacteria and fungi. Among its many qualities,
Manuka honey is known to help support the immune system and maintain
healthy digestion, as well as relieve sore throats, indigestion, mouth
International markets helping grow Australian businesses
Manuka honey is becoming more popular around the world.
‘We’re getting repeat orders from all the markets we export to,’ says
‘The US market is really strong for us, while we're seeing lots of interest
in Vietnam and Brunei. But everywhere, the orders just keep growing.’
High tariffs produces new, innovative product range
In South Korea, Biosota’s honey attracts a 234 per cent duty. In response
to a suggestion from a South Korean customer, Biosota created a new creamed
honey spread that attracts a significantly lower tariff under the Korea
Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA).
‘This product development also led us to invest in new equipment and create
an entirely new export range,’ says Zubko.
Under Australia’s FTAs with China (ChAFTA) tariffs on Biosota’s honey
exports will be eliminated on 1 January 2019.
For Biosota’s creamed honey spread products, tariffs were previously 30 per
cent for creamed honey spread going into China and Korea and 21.3 per cent
into Japan. These have already been reduced under the FTAs; 6 per cent
under ChAFTA, 20 per cent under KAFTA and 11.6 per cent under JAEPA.
These tariffs will continue to be reduced until they’re eliminated.
New FTAs provide new opportunities
Zubko says the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific
Partnership (or TPP-11), the regional free trade agreement between
Australia and ten other countries, represents some great opportunities to
break into new export markets, as well as access larger supply chains and
health food store chains.
For Biosota, that's a pretty sweet deal.
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