Australia is collaborating with China to ensure future food exports meet the highest safety standards.
This follows a meeting between Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Luke Hartsuyker and Chinese officials in Sydney yesterday.
“The outcomes of the meeting reflected the trust and collaborative relationship between Australia and China,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
“Australia is a supplier of safe and high-quality meat and food products to China and ensuring the quality and safety of these products is in both countries’ interest.”
Earlier this month, China lifted a ban on Australian beef imports over labelling concerns.
Mr Hartsuyker said the positive outcome reflects the high level of cooperation between both countries to work through issues “in a constructive and collaborative manner.”
China’s demand for high-quality beef is growing rapidly, driven by a growing middle class.
Last year, Australian beef exports to China totalled 98,440 tonnes, worth $670.4 million.
Australia is already one of China’s major beef suppliers, with 22 per cent of the import market and with an outstanding reputation for quality.
“Australia is committed to being a reliable supplier of wholesome and safe meat to China and we have reconfirmed this commitment through the recent implementation of enhanced verification and audit procedures, which were developed in consultation with industry,” Mr Hartsuyker said after the meeting.
“These enhanced procedures will support improved food safety for Australian meat exports, to ensure Chinese consumers can continue to have access to the safe, high-quality produce that Australia is known for.
“Both countries also agreed to work closely to ensure the implementation of the Joint Statement signed earlier in the year, which includes expanded chilled meat access to China.”
Infant formula plans
At the meeting, China also announced plans to register five Australian infant formula establishments, together with approvals of five additional Australian meat establishments.
China is Australia’s largest market for dairy exports, with $783 million worth of produce exported to China in 2016.
Under the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), the 15 per cent tariff on infant formula exports will be eliminated by January 1, 2019, which will further improve market access for Australian exporters.
“This is welcome news for both our dairy and meat industries,” said Mr Hartsuyker.
“China is one of our most important agricultural trading partners and we highly value the trade relationship between our countries. We are committed to working with China to continue supporting their domestic food safety.”
The High-Level Dialogue saw a recommitment to food safety discussions and cooperation through the re-signing of a food safety working group Memorandum of Understanding between agencies.