October 8, 2003



China Live Cattle Imports from Australia Increases 


China has become Australia's fifth largest market for live cattle exports.


Latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveal China imported nearly 21,000 head of cattle in the eight months to August. This figure is actually more than double the number during the same period last year.


Livecorp chief executive Kevin Shiell says dairy cattle poses a majority of sales to China.


"Principally it's a result of the extent of demand in China for dairy production and there is a rapid increase in dairy production there," he said.


Some 40% of the population don't have access to dairy products and there is a conscious Government effort to build production.


"And we're fortunately in a position to be able to supply, whereas Europe is not because of the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or 'mad cow' disease concern."


Meanwhile, Australian cattle producers have been given improved access to the Taiwan market, after the country cut its tariff on imported beef by almost 30%.


The tariff cut is a result of Taiwan becoming a member of the World Trade Organisation.


National Party Senator Ron Boswell says the cut will allow Australia to compete with the US, which does not need to pay the tariff into Taiwan.


"Whereas I think a lot of the beef that we send over goes into beef noodles and some of that type of traditional meal, I think this will get us into the up-market restaurant trade," he said.


"We'll be able to compete certainly on quality and now our prices will be very competitive so we should be able to get quite an additional slice of that market."


But the Australian Meat Industry Council says Taiwan consumers will need to increase their consumption of beef if the country is to become a major customer.


Currently the Taiwanese eat 3kg of beef per head per year, compared to 30kg of pork and poultry.
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