AUSTRALIA’S Minister for Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt is optimistic agreement can be reached with China on trade barriers for lobster and some beef and sheep meat abattoirs.
Mr Watt said Australia had been able to get China to lift about $18 billion worth of its trade impediments on Australian agriculture, with trade resuming in barley, horticulture, cotton and hay.
But Mr Watt told ABC Radio National today that some Australian beef and sheep abattoirs are still blocked from exporting to China.
He said he raised this in meetings directly with the Chinese Agriculture Minister and said Trade Minister Don Farrell and other ministers had done this with China’s trade minister.
“And in addition to those ministerial level representations, we have regularly had officials from the Department of Agriculture lobbying their counterparts in China to try to satisfy whatever China’s requirements are there.
“I would like to think that as each of these different commodities is resolved, that we can move on to the next one,” Mr Watt said.
“And I know that representations have been made again on matters like lobster, beef and sheep, since we were able to get that agreement with China about wine.
“So, I’m optimistic that we can get there and we’ll keep working hard until we do.”
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.