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China lifts ban on Australian beef

China lifts ban on Australian beef article image

A Chinese ban on Australian beef exports imposed in July this year has been lifted.

Trade Minister Steven Ciobo announced yesterday that six Australian beef exporters, who made up a third of Australia's beef trade to China, can now resume exporting.

The suspension by Chinese customs and quarantine regulators was blamed on labelling concerns.

The lifting of the ban follows intensive lobbying by Mr Ciobo in a series of meetings in Beijing last month.

Three Australian-owned abattoirs were affected by the ban – Australian Country Choice, Northern Rivers Co-operative, and Thomas Food.

The other three are foreign-owned – two by Brazilian meat giant JBS – which has become the largest meat processor in Australia, and one, Kilcoy, by China’s own biggest agribusiness, New Hope.

Senior veterinarians of Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources visited each producer to ensure they had acted to address the compliance issues, and sent a report to China’s quarantine authority outlining the companies’ responses.

Constructive engagement

Mr Ciobo said: "This is terrific news for the six affected facilities, great news for their workers and suppliers."

He appreciated the "constructive engagement with the Chinese authorities" to resolve the issue "very quickly".

Australia has become the world’s leading supplier of red meat. Last year it was the largest exporter of beef and second largest of sheep meat, as well as the third-largest exporter of livestock.

The Chinese beef import market is growing faster than any other in the world and is now worth an estimated $3.4 billion a year.

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