Promoting trade through North Asian agriculture visit
17 November 2015
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, returned to Australia today after visiting China, Korea and Japan to promote the exciting opportunities for expanded agricultural trade with the three countries under the recently completed landmark free trade agreements.
"The Coalition Government's commitment to improving market access for our agricultural producers is well demonstrated through the major trade deals we have secured—including the Trans-Pacific Partnership," Minister Joyce said.
Minister Joyce underlined the significance of the North Asian region for Australia's agriculture, food and fisheries industries.
"The three big markets of North Asia together account for around US$220 billion worth of agricultural, food and fishery imports from the world each year. China, now the world's second largest agricultural importer, imports almost US$120 billion worth of this. We should also acknowledge the continuing importance of the agricultural markets of Japan, importing US$70 billion each year, and Korea with annual imports worth US$30 billion.
"I was pleased to be accompanied on this trip by leading Australian agricultural industry representatives, including representatives from the horticulture, sugar, dairy, grains, meat and forestry sectors.
"Now that we have these trade agreements in place, it is important that we keep the momentum going—negotiating improved technical market access and promoting stronger commercial relationships between importers and exporters.
"In China I held high-level talks with senior Chinese Ministers to advance agricultural co-operation and market access between our two nations and I also met with the Minister for Water Resources to discuss how both Australia and China manage this precious resource.
"In Korea and Japan I was able to discuss the progress being made on our respective technical market access priorities with my counterpart Ministers for Agriculture. A major focus in Korea and Japan was on networking so that our respective industries could meet and look for opportunities to build commercially viable trade together."
Minister Joyce said there was more work underway at the Australian Government level to help exporters and importers make the most of the trade deals.
"Through the Ag White Paper we will have more agricultural trade specialists in international markets from early 2016. Of the five new counsellor positions it establishes, one is in China and two are in TPP partner nations—Malaysia and Vietnam. These new positions will add to those already based in Tokyo, Beijing, Seoul and Jakarta, and substantially strengthen Australia's network of agricultural counsellors in key Asian markets," Minister Joyce said.
"With the demand for agricultural products in Asia forecast to double by 2050, there is plenty of opportunity to further build agricultural trade right across the Asia-Pacific region for the benefit of farmers, food and fibre processors and consumers alike.
"Trips like this underline the responsibility of all parties to these agreements to invest in getting the best value out of them to benefit their economies, their producers and their people."
Minister Joyce visited China, Korea and Japan from 12 November to 16 November 2015.