North Asia visit to strengthen agricultural relationships following FTAs
12 November 2015
The Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, has commenced a five-day visit to China, Korea and Japan today to discuss the potential for stronger trade relationships made possible through the free trade agreements reached with North Asia's three major economies.
Minister Joyce said the visit would build on the landmark free trade agreements with each country, and represents another step in strengthening agricultural ties at both government and industry levels on the back of those agreements.
"Over a third of Australia's agriculture, food, forestry and fisheries exports go to just these three markets, with exports in 2014-15 worth A$9.1 billion to China, A$4.6 billion to Japan, and A$2.7 billion to Korea," Minister Joyce said.
"Much of the Australian product goes directly to those countries' food and fibre processing industries, but we are also seeing growing exports of high-end consumer products like wine and seafood."
Minister Joyce said there was enormous potential for further growth, with Australia's share of agricultural imports into these markets around just 6 to 7 per cent.
"These agreements provide Australia with significant advantages over many of our major competitors, and close the gap with those countries which already have agreements in place," Minister Joyce said.
"Through them, we aim to make sure Australia is top of the list as China, Korea and Japan seek reliable trading partners who can consistently provide high-quality and safe agricultural products at competitive prices.
"But these agreements aren't an endpoint—they are the beginning of a new era in these relationships, ones that each partner can continue to build on for many years to come.
"This visit is about deepening those relationships and building on what we have achieved by fostering strong commercial relationships and ensuring that industry has a direct understanding of the markets they are setting out to serve."
Minister Joyce will be accompanied by an industry delegation including representatives of several agricultural sectors including meat, horticulture, dairy, grains and sugar.
Minister Joyce will meet with the Minister of Agriculture, the Minister for the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, and the Minister of Water Resources in China; the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in Korea; and the Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in Japan.
In each country, Minister Joyce will also host trade functions with representatives from Australian industry and local agricultural importers.
"I am very confident that agricultural trade will grow in both directions and provide strong benefits back to farmers, processors and consumers in all countries," Minister Joyce said.
"This trip is a practical step towards realising those outcomes through enhanced trade and investment."
Minister Joyce is visiting China on 12 November, Korea on 13 and 14 November followed by Japan on 15 and 16 November.