Joyce leads trade delegation to Middle East

Beef Central, 07/04/2014

Federal minister for agriculture Barnaby Joyce says the Middle East represents an important growth region for Australian agricultural exports. 

Mr Joyce led a delegation of Australian industry representatives from the meat, livestock, grain, dairy, pulse and agribusiness sectors to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain last Friday.

He said the tour is aimed at building export opportunities and improving commercial connections for Australia's agricultural sectors.

The trade mission will include trips to dairy and manufacturing facilities and feedlots and abattoirs. Delegates will also meet with senior government and industry officials involved in the agriculture, food and investment sectors.

"This visit will not only raise Australia's agricultural profile, but it will enable important discussions on Australia's market access relationships in agricultural and food products,” Mr Joyce said.

The Middle East takes some 10 per cent ($4.1 billion in 2012–13) of Australia's total agricultural exports with:

• Saudi Arabia – $811m (second largest market in the Middle East) comprised largely of barley, wheat, and beef and sheep meat.
• Bahrain – $96m of predominantly beef and sheep meat.

"These are prime markets for the growth of Australian exports. An example of this is the recent recommencement of the livestock export trade to Bahrain, which was great news for Australian sheep producers," Minister Joyce said.

Meanwhile, NT chief minister Adam Giles said record numbers of cattle are being moved through Darwin’s East Arm Wharf.

With Indonesian having recently released permits for the import of 273,000 cattle for the second quarter, shipments from East Arm are expected to jump from one to two per week, up to six to eight per week.

There was a surge in exports through the Port in March with more than 53,000 head of cattle crossing the Wharf, up 36,000 compared to March last year.

There was also a record of 70,000 cattle exported in a single month in December 2013, with 60pc of those cattle sourced in the Territory.

Mr Giles said his Government was currently looking at ways of expanding and improving the Port by sourcing private investment. Independent advisors, Flagstaff Partners, have been appointed to help develop an over-arching strategy for attracting this vital investment.

“Private investment in Darwin’s Port infrastructure will make the facility more internationally competitive, reducing freight and export charges and bringing down the cost of living for Territorians,” Mr Giles said.


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