AMIC welcomes new Australia-China talks on trade access

Sheep Central, April 19, 2023

AMIC CEO Patrick Hutchinson.

AUSTRALIA’S meat processors have welcomed increased engagement between the Australian and Chinese Governments earlier this week as the nation seeks restoration of access to China for some exporters.

The JBS Brooklyn plant in Melbourne and the Australian Lamb Company at Colac voluntarily stopped exporting meat to China in 2021 due to COVID-19 among its workforce and have been seeking relisting.

Minister for Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt met with Vice Minister Ma Youxiang of China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs at Parliament House on Monday, following discussions between the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Chinese ministry under the Joint Agricultural Commission, last convened in 2017. The JAC’s purpose is to guide agricultural cooperation between our two countries.

Australian Meat Industry Council chief executive officer Patrick Hutchinson said AMIC welcomes the increased engagement between the Australian and Chinese governments, including the resumption of Ministerial and official-level meetings on agriculture matters.

“This increased communication will be critical to addressing a number of outstanding issues for the meat industry.

“It’s important that the continuing positive engagement and discussions translate into tangible action for Australian meat exporters currently locked out of the Chinese market,” he said.

“This includes restoration of access for suspended plants, as well as access for a number of Australian abattoirs with longstanding requests for listings necessary to trade with China.”

Mr Watt said he welcomed the process of stabilising bilateral relations, in particular progress towards restoring trade in barley, and reaffirmed his commitment to progressing the longstanding tradition of agriculture cooperation between China and Australia.

“I noted there are many areas of mutual interest for Australia and China, such as supporting sustainability in agriculture, enhancing food security by reducing food loss and farming innovation, smoothing trade flows, responding to the impacts of climate change on food production, and managing natural resources.”

Mr Watt said bilateral issues, including trade and consular matters, were also discussed.

“I reiterated our clear and consistent position that all trade impediments affecting Australian exports should be removed, and that the resumption of normal trade in all products – particularly agricultural goods – is in both Australia’s and China’s interests.

“I look forward to meeting my Chinese counterpart in due course, to continue the conversation,” Mr Watt said.


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