Author Topic: Trade with China dominates northern beef forum  (Read 718 times)

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Trade with China dominates northern beef forum
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2013, 05:26:46 PM »
Cattle were selling in parts of China this week for over $5 a kilogram.

It's a hefty price, which has not gone unnoticed in Australia by a live export trade looking to diversify its markets.

At this week's 3rd Northern Australia Beef Industry Roundtable in Darwin, the Agriculture Ministers for Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory were told on several occasions that government should be doing all it can to help the cattle industry's push into the lucrative Chinese market.

  Australia beef in China height=227

As one delegate put it: "China is a must focus... we cannot spend enough time and money on developing that market."

Australia is already having success in selling boxed beef to China, with exports this year at record levels.

But Alison Penfold, from the Australian Livestock Exporters' Council, says there are also huge opportunities to export live cattle to China.

"I think China could be an incredible market," she said.

"There's a lot of trade interest and we're already seeing what it can do for the boxed beef trade and also demand for dairy cattle with big numbers of dairy cattle going into China.

"China is a very complex market and we need to get a handle on the various market segments and the opportunities for northern cattle and southern cattle.

"We know there's a high demand for the Angus breed, but we're not sure about the northern Bos indicus breeds, so we've got to do some research there."

Ms Penfold says this research is already happening, with LiveCorp currently investigating trade opportunities with China.
Some in the live export industry are worried this market will never be achieved because of the cost and demands of Australia's new animal welfare system known as ESCAS.

At the beef forum in Darwin, one delegate described ESCAS as "arduous", "costly", "prohibitive", "something that was killing the industry" and making it "very tough to establish new markets".

Ms Penfold agrees ESCAS is too costly in its present form, but doesn't think it'll ruin the opportunity to trade with China.

"If you compare (China) to other markets we already operate in, where we went and essentially imposed this new system (ESCAS). I think it's relatively easier (to introduce) to markets where we have not been operating (such as China).

"There are some very positive things about ESCAS and it's enabled us to deliver the welfare improvements that industry has been trying to deliver for many years, but we've got to refine it and certainly look at the cost issues around ESCAS because they are quite horrendous."

The three northern agriculture ministers have vowed to work together when facilitating trade with new markets such as China.

Queensland Minister John McVeigh says trade relationships are already being made.

"China has certainly shown a lot of interest in our agricultural produce out of the north, particularly beef, and our States with the Northern Territory in fact has just hosted a significant Chinese delegation (to talk about this).

"So there's a lot of interest. We need to focus on that and prove that we are a long-term partner, focused on sustainable supply of quality agricultural produce, in this case beef."

Other alternative markets for the live export trade which were discussed at the beef forum in Darwin included Cambodia, Thailand and an increased trade with Vietnam. 

By  Matt Brann   

Posted Fri Jun 28, 2013
« Last Edit: July 14, 2013, 05:34:06 PM by WA Export News »