Media Release

Joint Statement to grow agricultural trade with China​

24 March 2017

  • Australia and China today signed the Joint Statement on Enhancing Inspection and Quarantine Cooperation between Australia and the People’s Republic of China.
  • It will significantly improve two-way agricultural trade between Australia and China, particularly for Australia’s meat exports, and promotes food security and safety.
  • Agreement estimated to be worth $400 million per year for Australia’s meat industry; a boost for regional jobs.

The Coalition Government today signed a Joint Statement with China to deliver important market access for Australia’s red meat and live animal export industries. The deal which also promotes food safety and security is a key outcome of the visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and is estimated to be worth in excess of $400 million per year for Australia’s meat industry.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the Joint Statement will expand and improve Australia’s meat market access by allowing more meat and live animal exporters access to China and progressing new trade opportunities.

“The Coalition is committed to building on our record prices and record volume of trade with China. We won’t ever rest on our laurels in pursuit of expanding Australia’s trading partnerships,” Minister Joyce said.

“I am proud to sign this Joint Statement with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi today to deliver a valuable and mutually beneficial agreement that will support our relationship with one of our most important trading partners.

“Through the Joint Statement on Enhancing Inspection and Quarantine Cooperation, we are helping more Australian meat exporters expand access to China, including more chilled meat.

“Industry has estimated that the trade this Joint Statement will facilitate could be worth in excess of $400 million per year to our meat industry, which could lead to significantly improved farmgate returns across the nation.”

The Joint Statement will unlock a number of trade restrictions currently in place to support Australian meat and livestock exports including:

  • expanding the chilled meat trade and expediting the listing of 15 additional establishments eligible to export meat to China;
  • advancing Australia’s access for tripe exports to China and initiating trade in donkey meat and edible skins to China; and
  • promoting a protocol for the export of Australian slaughter sheep and goats.

“China is already Australia’s largest sheep meat market, worth $240 million in 2016, and is our fourth largest beef market worth $670 million in the same year,” Minister Joyce said.

“Together Australia and China are focused on promoting food security and safety and ensuring continued access to safe, high quality and reliable produce.”

A Salmon Statement of Intent (SOI) was also signed between the ministers to progress negotiations on trade in salmon sourced from approved countries, processed in China, and exported to Australia.

Hon. Steve Ciobo MP, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment:

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Steven Ciobo, said increasing the number of approved meat processing establishments will create more export opportunities for red meat trade with China.

"Australia’s beef exports to China have grown from less than $100 million in 2011 to exceed $600 million in 2016," he said.

"Today’s agreement will enable Australian beef producers to continue meeting China’s growing demand for high-quality beef.

"This, alongside continued cuts under ChAFTA to the tariffs Australian beef faces in China, will bring further significant benefits for regional Australia and employment in the red meat industry."

Hon. Keith Pitt MP, Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment:

Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Keith Pitt, said the agreement was a significant opportunity to increase the growth of the industry in regional Australia, leading to more jobs.

“The majority of meat production and processing facilities are located in regional areas, so this will have a flow-on effect also to suppliers for these businesses including equipment, feed stock, infrastructure and transport.”​

Fast facts

  • The Joint Statement was signed by Minister Joyce and China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister Wang Yi.
  • There are currently 47 integrated (meat processing) establishments and 23 cold stores which can export meat to China, but only 11 are permitted to export chilled meat. The Joint Statement will expedite approval of an additional 15 Australian frozen meat establishments (11 integrat​ed, 4 cold stores), and progress approvals for chilled meat export for all establishments that meet the chilled meat standard as verified by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.
  • The two-way agricultural trading relationship between Australia and China was worth $A12.7 billion in CY2016.


Pictured (from left): Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr Wang Yi, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce.​