July 21, 2015


China to become key market for Australian cattle



Australia's beef farmers could soon welcome China as yet another key export market for Aussie cattle, possibly amounting up to a million head of live animals yearly and within a deal worth $1-$2 billion annually.


The development has sprung from recent signings of health protocols concerning health conditions of export feeder and slaughter cattle to the Mainland, with Barnaby Joyce, the Australian agriculture minister, giving approval.


Eventually, an agreement on animal health certifications will be concluded between Chinese and Australian veterinary authorities.


The chief executive of the Australian Livestock Exporters' Council lauded the agreement on health conditions as a critical progress for livestock exports. As a result, Australian exporters and producers will benefit from a better market diversification.


"It's over to my counterpart, Minister Zhi Shuping, to sign and finalise the agreement," Joyce said.


By 2016, the first exports will depart for Chinese port, at an initial 40,000 to 50,000 head of cattle.

Expecting a "long term prospect of better prices", Joyce hopes that in eight to ten years, up to a million cattle could be delivered.

"That is a target that we will build towards. We will start in the tens of thousands," the minister commented. "We do about 1.2 million head a year at the moment, we would need to double it."

The Chinese market will serve to alleviate the predicament faced by the live cattle sector in Australia following Indonesia's decision to significantly cut down on Aussie cattle imports to 50,000 head in the current quarter.

Indonesia dominates a market share of about 56% over Australia's live exports.

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