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Australia strengthens agricultural ties with China

Australia strengthens agricultural ties with China article image

Australia has reinforced its strong agricultural relationship with China following a recent visit to Beijing and Shanghai by Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Luke Hartsuyker.

During his visit Mr Hartsuyker welcomed the first shipment of Australian nectarine exports into China and progressed bilateral trade discussions. 

Mr Hartsuyker said the visit provided a valuable opportunity to build on Australia’s relationship with its most significant agricultural trading partner.

“Australia’s two-way agricultural trade with China is worth $12.6 billion, so it is vital that we continue to work closely together to sustain and build on our cooperative relationship,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

Mr Hartsuyker attended the China Food Security and Food Safety Summit – a forum which would help Australia to build stronger agricultural ties between Australia and China.

He also took part in a number of key bilateral meetings with senior government officials to discuss agricultural trade matters.

Discussions were also held on the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) and the future opportunities it creates for both countries.

Growing taste for high-quality Australian fruit

Last week Mr Hartsuyker visited the iFresh China International Fruit and Vegetable Expo in Shanghai to welcome the first shipments of Australian nectarines to China.

“Chinese consumers are already developing a growing taste for Australian oranges, mandarins, table grapes and cherries. I’m very pleased to add Australian nectarines to that growing list,” he said.

“Just a few short years ago, it would be almost unimaginable that Australia would be exporting such a wide range of high-quality fruits to China.”

China has become Australia’s top market for our agricultural food, fisheries and forestry exporters, worth $11.1 billion in 2015.

And since ChAFTA entered into force earlier this year, Australia has seen strong growth in horticultural exports to China of table grapes and cherries.

Under ChAFTA all tariffs on most other fruit and vegetables to be eliminated by 2019, making them much cheaper for Chinese businesses and consumers.

Perfect example

Table grape exports to China totalled $102 million in the first six months of this year – a six-fold increase in value from $16 million over the same period last year. This follows a tariff drop from 13 to 7.8 per cent to date.

“It’s a perfect example of what can be achieved when our two governments work together in close and active collaboration with our industries to promote new market opportunities.”

During the visit, Mr Hartsuyker also signed a Statement of Intent with China to further develop collaboration in the grains sector.

“The Statement of Intent will support the development of a Memorandum of Understanding in areas of mutual interest, including grain science technology, quality testing and policy and structural adjustment in the grain sector – areas both nations are keenly interested in,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“This will help advance Australia and China’s joint interests in the development of strong grains sectors in both our countries.”

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