The Chairman of the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council, Simon Crean has welcomed the deal on an Australia China Free Trade Agreement citing immediate benefits for the live dairy heifer trade.
Under the Agreement the current 10% tariff on live cattle and sheep will be eliminated over 4 years.
“As a former Australian Trade Minister engaged in the negotiations for several years, I wholeheartedly welcome the agreement and congratulate the Government and Andrew Robb on their efforts to bring the deal to a conclusion.
“It shows that bipartisanship and persistence can deliver good outcomes for the nation.
“Across the board, Australia is poised to enter a new era of trading relations with China. I particularly welcome the comprehensive nature of the agreement, the inclusion of the services sector and the tariff free access gained by red meat sector which is a huge win for producers and exporters.
“For the live trade, the Agreement will strengthen the already burgeoning trade in live dairy heifers which has grown by over 100% in 2014 (year on year) and the small, but potential rich live sheep trade,” Mr Crean said.
“Making us more competitive against the likes of other live dairy cattle export nations such as New Zealand will help stimulate further growth in the trade, not only for the benefit of livestock exporters but also Australian dairy cattle producers.
“Anecdotally, 1 in 3 Australian dairy farmers are now producing stock for the China market so today’s announcement is a further gain on improved access for the Australian dairy sector.
“In terms of the benefits for a feeder and slaughter cattle trade, we will have to wait for the health protocol to be concluded by the two Governments.
“We need to know the scale of the market access first before we can accurately speculate on the gains to be made.
“That said, there is no doubt that today’s agreement coupled with a new health protocol could well provide unprecedented access for live cattle from across Australia to the Chinese market at a time of huge growth in red meat demand.
“While we see massive opportunities for the live trade into China, recent speculation has overstated the volume of exports in the short to medium term.
“There is much work yet to be done to commercialise the protocol arrangements including establishing compliant supply chains, arranging shipping capacity and finding cattle that meet the market specifications. Such arrangements will be limiting factors in the foreseeable future.
Contact: Simon Crean – 0419 881 877