First Australian beef cattle sea shipment arrives in China

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Australia’s live export industry has hit another milestone with the first sea freight shipment of live slaughter cattle arriving on China’s shores.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the first shipment of 1200 live slaughter cattle was made possible by the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement and had boarded from Portland, South Australia on 4 February 2017.

Mr Joyce said under the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), from 1 January 2017 the pre-ChAFTA 10 per cent tariff for live cattle exports to China was decreased to just 4 per cent.

“That tariff will be completely eliminated on 1 January 2019, further enhancing the attractiveness of Australia’s live cattle to Chinese importers,” Minister Joyce said.

“Australia’s live export industry is a real success story. We are known world-wide for our high-quality and reliable livestock trade and our cattle are in high demand internationally.

“This shipment was a significant development in the live cattle trade with China and one that the Coalition Government has been working towards for some time.

“We already have a significant trade in breeder cattle with China, with over 94,000 breeder cattle exported from Australia in 2016. With the first shipment of slaughter cattle arriving by sea we now have a new market opportunity with great potential.

“It will not only benefit our industry, but it will also help strengthen farmgate returns across Australia through increased demand for Australian livestock.

“Live slaughter cattle exports into China will provide an important supplement to our significant chilled and frozen beef exports into the Chinese market, worth $867 million in 2015-16.

“It is hard to put a figure on it, but there is high demand in China for Australian livestock and I understand industry anticipates that there is the potential to grow this trade significantly per year.

“We are the only country to have negotiated access for live feeder and slaughter cattle to China, which will only strengthen the $12.7 billion two-way agricultural trade relationship Australia shares with China.”

The recent shipment follows Australia’s first export of slaughter cattle by air freight in October 2015, which was facilitated under the Australian feeder and slaughter cattle import health protocol agreed with the Chinese Government on 13 August 2015.

Two further air freight shipments were sent in April and June 2016.

“I want to recognise the efforts of industry and Chinese authorities in working with my department to finalise the many details necessary before a consignment of this nature can depart,” Minister Joyce said.

The Coalition Government is further supporting the nation’s agricultural trade relationship with China through the Australia-China Agricultural Cooperation Agreement (ACACA) programme. Applicants can apply for funding through ACACA for projects that improve or support market access to China for Australian exporters.

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