Media Release

Celebrating industry's role in Australia-China agricultural relations

18 September 2014

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, has commended the commitment of Australian and Chinese industry in developing mutually beneficial trade opportunities in agriculture and food.

"I attended the first meeting of the business-to-business Australia Sino Hundred Year Agricultural and Food Safety Partnership (ASA 100) on Chinese soil yesterday," Minister Joyce said.

"ASA 100 is an industry initiative set up to promote Australia as a reliable and competitive food supplier to China and to permanently bolster the role of Australian agriculture and food in supplementing China’s food supply to benefit both countries.

"This is a commendable – and I think achievable – aim with considerable industry support behind it from both countries.

"I'm on the record as saying that Australia will never be the food bowl of Asia. We will not, and we are not aiming to, supply China with all the agricultural products needed in the future – Australia simply can’t do that.

"What we can do – and what we will continue to do – is to provide China with high quality, clean and safe agricultural and food products – many of which will be further processed in China, target the high-end of the market, or are counter seasonal.

"For example, Australia is a long-term supplier of safe and high-quality meat products, many of which are further processed in China.

"This week I visited the Tianshunyuan Muslim Food Company in Heilongjiang province in northeast China and saw Australian lamb being processed into hot pot meat products. Tianshunyuan has long been a purchaser of Australian lamb, and has recently also started to import Australian beef.

"This complementary relationship is a great example of how Australian and Chinese companies are working together to enhance the trading relationship to the benefit of both countries.

"As I have already said, we do not pretend that Australia can, or should, be the sole supplier for the extra demand in beef.

"What we can do, through the work of Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), the Australian Government, and industry is to demonstrate how Australia is a reliable trading partner that offers products of exceptional quality.

"Through the ASA 100 meeting and the opening of the MLA's new office in Beijing, I have been impressed by the effort industry is investing in developing relationships with China.

"I wish them all the best in their continued efforts to showcase Australia’s high quality agricultural and food products and underline our industry’s long-term commitment to the Chinese market."