NEW and improved market access for Australian live feeder and slaughter sheep and goats into China will results from protocol conditions agreed to in high level negotiations.
Improved conditions for the export of bovine, sheep and goat semen were also agreed to at the sixth Sanitary and Phytosanitary High-Level Dialogue meeting between Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and Chinese officials in Sydney today.
The Federal Government said the new conditions will strengthen the $13.2 billion two-way agricultural trade relationship Australia shares with China.
Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Luke Hartsuyker, said the agreements will be of real value to some of Australia’s most significant agricultural industries.
“Australia and China share a longstanding and mutually beneficial trade in livestock and genetic material.
“China is our tenth largest market for live animal exports, growing from $117 million in 2010 to $173 million in 2016, and is our largest market for breeder cattle,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
“Australia has also been supporting the development of China’s dairy industry through the supply of high quality Australian dairy breeder cattle and sheep.
“This week we have finalised agreements for new protocol access for the export of Australian feeder and slaughter sheep and goats to China. Improved conditions were also agreed for facilitating exports of bovine, sheep and goat semen to China,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
“I am pleased that we are supporting further growth for this important trade with one of our most significant trading partners, through the negotiation of these new protocols.
“Our work to progress these agreements demonstrates that improving agricultural market access is a priority for the Coalition Government.”
The Federal Government said tariff reductions under the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) have seen the pre-ChAFTA 10 per cent tariff for live slaughter and feeder cattle and live slaughter sheep exports fall to just 4 percent. These tariffs will be completely eliminated by January 1, 2019.
Live exporters welcome protocol progress
The Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council welcomed the confirmation of new conditions for the export of live feeder and slaughter sheep and goats from Australia.
The new feeder/slaughter protocol broadens access to the Chinese market for Australian sheep producers and exporters, complementing existing breeder sheep and sheep meat trades, ALEC said.
ALEC chief executive officer Simon Westaway said livestock exporters acknowledged the Federal Government’s ongoing support for the live trade as an important rural industry and export earner.
“Today’s announcement by Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Luke Hartsuyker, creates a new opportunity to develop Australia’s already strong livestock export relationship with China, which was worth $173 million in 2016,” Mr Westaway said.
“Australian exporters and producers have identified great potential in the trade of feeder and slaughter animals to China, so we welcome improved access to the market and the removal of tariffs.
“For example, the live feeder/slaughter cattle trade to China is now gaining momentum after initial air consignments last year, two seaborne shipments so far this year and further trade expected before Christmas,” Mr Westaway said.
“This trade with China represents new, closed-loop supply chains, with the highest levels of control, traceability and animal welfare in keeping with the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS).”
The livestock export industry’s service provider, LiveCorp, also welcomed the announcement, with its chief executive officer, Sam Brown, saying the outcome was the result of a genuine partnership between the industry and government.
“This has been a hard fought and welcome outcome and shows the benefits of industry working closely and in alignment with government to provide further opportunities for Australian livestock exports,” Mr Brown said.
Mr Westaway said greater market access and diversification are high priorities for the industry.
“That’s why today’s announcement is important and why we will continue to pursue further trade opportunities like the resumption of sheep exports to Saudi Arabia.
“Historically, the Saudi trade has played a significant role in our sheep exports and we’re working with the Federal Government to re-open that market,” he said.
“Significant results can be achieved when industry and government work together, as today’s news regarding China demonstrates. We’re hopeful of a similar breakthrough regarding Saudi Arabia in the near future.”
Further details about of the new protocol will be shared at next week’s LIVEXchange 2017 conference in Perth.