Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Joe Ludwig, said the relationship between Australia and China’s agriculture sectors will continue to develop and the visit by Minister Han Changfu was positive.
“Minister Han is visiting Australia for the Joint Agricultural Commission, a major forum for discussing agricultural trade, policies and co-operation activities with the People’s Republic of China,” Minister Ludwig said.
“The agricultural trade relationship with China is our most valuable, worth about A$7 billion.
“My meeting with Minister Han was an opportunity to discuss a wide range of topics, including how we ensure our relationship continues to grow.”
The new cooperation arrangement, outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding, will expand current program activities and focus on science and technology, two–way investment and trade.
“Building learning and development opportunities will help improve our market access through newly formed ties,” Minister Ludwig said.
“The growing Chinese market presents fantastic opportunities for our farmers and we hope that there will be more good news into the future.”
During his visit, Minister Han will meet with a Queensland based red meat export establishment, after China’s decision last week to accredit 28 cold store facilities and four red meat plants around the country, as the first step in a system–wide approach to approval of meat storage facilities for shipping.
The deal means Australian exporters can save money by consolidating large loads of meat for shipping.
Minister Han also spent time visiting a Queensland seafood exporter, along with a beef farm just outside of Brisbane.
In 2011–12, the total value of Australian agricultural, fisheries and forestry exports to China was about A$7 billion, up from A$3.4 billion in 2009–10, with Australia importing A$1.5 billion worth of agricultural imports from China (an increase of 8.2 per cent from the previous year).
The meeting between Minister Han and Minister Ludwig builds on the Australian Government’s commitment in the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper to broaden and deepen Australia’s relationship with China and be a reliable producer of high–quality food and agricultural products, services and technology to Asia.