Growing agricultural connections with China

Australian Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce, will lead a delegation of 38 industry representatives on a week-long trip to China, visiting Heilongjiang province in the northeast, as well as Beijing, to deepen the already strong relationship between the two countries.

“China is an important trading partner for Australia – and for our agricultural producers our single biggest customer. Two-way agriculture, fisheries and forestry trade was valued at over $11 billion in 2013,” Minister Joyce said.

“We are all aware of the opportunities for Australian businesses in Asia – none more heralded than those awaiting the agriculture sector because of the forecast doubling of food demand in Asia by 2050. China will be a key part of this growth.

“But we can’t just assume Australia will automatically benefit from these developments. We need to show our friends in China that we are dependable partners and produce high quality goods that will satisfy Chinese consumers and businesses.

“Australia doesn’t produce enough to meet more than a small fraction of China’s current or future food demand – but we do want to play our part.

“During my visit I want to underline my firm belief that increasing agricultural trade can be a win-win for our two nations.”

“Many of the products we send to China—such as wool, cotton, barley and canola—are further processed by Chinese companies into high-quality goods, or supply niche markets. We are also a counter-seasonal supplier of horticultural produce.”

Minister Joyce is looking forward to meeting several senior Chinese Ministers during his time in Beijing.

“In particular I was pleased to accept the invitation from my Chinese counterpart, Agriculture Minister Mr Han Changfu, to come to China to attend the Third APEC Ministerial Meeting on Food Security, and to bring industry representatives with me on this trip so we can develop relationships for the long haul,” Minister Joyce said.

“I’m equally pleased that I will have the opportunity to see Chinese agricultural and food production systems at first hand, including by visiting one of China’s key agricultural provinces, Heilongjiang. A key part of my visit in both Beijing and Heilongjiang province is to discuss the agricultural partnerships Australia and China can build for the future.

“We have a lot to learn from each other and I am excited by the opportunities for Australian agriculture this trip presents.

“The bilateral Free Trade Agreement being negotiated between Australia and China has the potential to further strengthen trade and cooperation in agriculture. As part of my discussions with Chinese Ministers, I aim to make clear the importance of a strong outcome on agriculture from the agreement.”

Minister Joyce and his party will visit China from 14 to 20 September.

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