Coronavirus and Trade

Tuesday 11 February, 2020

The coronavirus is continuing to affect many facets of the business community including disrupting trade with China.

The current operational status of Chinese ports is difficult to decipher as information out of China is slow and can be unclear. Chinese borders are currently largely affected due to the Chinese Lunar New Year Holiday, which has been extended to possibly the 17th of February.

The immediate effect on trade has negatively impacted the live seafood, fresh produce and beef export markets and it is expected to continue.

Sea freight carriers have advised that Australia and the Philippines will not accept vessels which have come from Mainland China, Hong Kong or Taiwan in the last 14 Days.

We are actively advocating to State and Federal governments for assistance packages to support businesses through this unpredictable crisis. We have engaged with both levels of government and relevant stakeholders advising them on the implications to business and the types of assistance which would provide viable support.

The Federal Government is collecting data and speaking with businesses affected by the coronavirus to understand implications to their industry and businesses. If your business has been directly impacted by the coronavirus then please contact Austrade:

Advisory Services

Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade)

T +61 2 9392 2998




Go Global Program 

The Queensland Government has since announced the new ‘Go Global’ program to be delivered by Trade and Investment Queensland (TIQ). 

This program will help export-ready Queensland businesses launch their products in global markets. Successful applicants will receive micro-grants up to $5,000 and macro-grants up to $25,000. 

The funds are to help companies overcome barriers to exporting when working with a new buyer or in a new market, including:  

  • market-entry requirements such as registration, documentation and compliance costs associated with product testing and redesign, product approvals, trial export programs (logistics), meeting export market requirements, and seeking professional advice on contract negotiation, IP advice, and counterfeit protection,

  • gaining export accreditation such as Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point or Halal accreditation.  

Applications for the first round of Go Global grants are now open and close on 28 February 2020 with further rounds to follow. 

More details on Go Global grants can be found on the Trade and Investment Queensland website at 

We will continue to work with all levels of government to provide industry advice and support to provide updates as they become available.  


Information for exporters  

The following information comes from our network of exporters and freight companies.  Please note, this information is sourced to help our members gain a better understanding of the current situation.  This information is not statistically based but is a representation of industry sentiment which is changing daily as the situation unfolds.  This information should not be used to influence major business decision making processes but can provide a basis for further research. 

Industry Insights from Freight and Logistics Providers:  

  • Cathay Pacific and China Airlines have cancelled all China bound flights from Australia for February

  • Air China cancelled all Australian flights to China until the end of March 2020

  • China Eastern has cancelled all Australian flights to China until October 2020 

  • Singapore Airlines have cut flights to China affecting Beijing, Shanghai, Pudong and Guangzhou 

  • Over 25,000 domestic flights in China have been cancelled for Feb 2020 

  • Exporters utilising Cross Border E-Commerce have requested for China to confirm that the channels will remain open however China has not provided feedback at this stage 

  • Air traffic via Hong Kong has not been affected to date but this is expected to change in the near future 

  • Live product (including Seafood) is experiencing little to no border entry with restaurant precincts and wet markets being shut down 

  • Fresh produce is currently not affected, but there may be border entry restrictions or refusals in store   

  • Retail channels for fresh produce (fruit and vegetables) are still currently open but there are difficulties anticipated for China border entry in the immediate future 

  • All live exports via airfreight to China have been stopped or cancelled 

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