​Media Release

China-Australia Joint Framework on Agriculture Cooperation

12 November 2015

Australia's Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and China's Minister for Agriculture, Han Changfu, today announced in a 'Joint Framework' their agreement on a range of new agricultural cooperation initiatives.  

Speaking from Beijing, Minister Joyce said the new cooperation initiatives recognised the unique opportunities presented by the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) and reflected an enhanced level of agricultural cooperation between the two countries. 

"China and Australia both have a strong history in agriculture and our respective industries and governments understand the mutual benefits of working together," Minister Joyce said. 

"Today's announcement of the China-Australia Joint Framework on Enhanced Cooperation will promote enhanced agricultural trade and investment opportunities through new science and economic research initiatives." 

Minister Joyce said the China-Australia Joint Agricultural Commission's agreement would make an essential contribution to realising the opportunities that ChAFTA offers both Australian and Chinese agriculture by deepening engagement between government and industry.  

"In 2014-15, Australia exported almost $9.1 billion in agricultural products to China at tariffs of up to 30 per cent," Minister Joyce said. This represented around a 7 per cent share of China's agricultural imports from the world, worth US$119 billion in CY2014. 

"ChAFTA eliminates tariffs on key commodities where there is growing demand—like beef, sheep meat, hides and skins, dairy, horticulture, wine and seafood—making Australian exports more attractive to Chinese importers and consumers. 

"But there is no question of Australia's supplying China with all the agricultural products it needs in the future—Australia simply can't do that.  

"Chinese farmers and food producers will continue to supply the majority of China's consumption needs. 

"What Australia can do, and what we will continue to do, is provide China with high-quality agricultural products—many of which will be further processed in China, targeted at the high-end of the market, or are counter-seasonal.  

"It is a two-way trade in which both Australia and China stand to benefit in exactly the same ways. 

"But we need strong research relationships and commercially viable technical market access agreements in place if we are to grow mutually beneficial trade in the long-term." 

Minister Joyce said that through this new cooperation the two nations would be collaborating on technical research and regulatory systems to manage fruit fly, strengthening commodity production and market research, and establishing priorities for agricultural policy, food security and fisheries management in the region.

"This work will ensure that trade grows in both directions and provides strong benefits back to farmers and food producers in both our countries," Minister Joyce said.

The new areas of cooperation will build on the existing Australia-China Agricultural Cooperation Agreement (ACACA) and was consistent with this 1984 treaty-level agreement between the Ministry of Agriculture of the People's Republic of China and the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

In recognition of the importance of the agricultural relationship between China and Australia, the Australian Government—through the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper—also announced on 19 September 2015 that a new senior agricultural counsellor would be placed in China.

The Minister-Counsellor will work closely with the two counsellors already placed in this vibrant market to lead and support better agricultural trading outcomes.

Minister Joyce is in China as part of a five-day visit to China, Korea and Japan, to discuss the potential for future agricultural trade growth arising from the free trade agreements reached with North Asia's three major economies.