Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise’s (TSBE) Chief Operating Officer, Dr Ben Lyons, just returned from a delegation with Trade Minister Andrew Robb to Shanghai and Beijing, will feature among a diverse line-up of speakers at the inaugural Darling Downs Beef Xpo in Toowoomba this week.
The Xpo on tomorrow (Wednesday) and Thursday at the Toowoomba Showgrounds incorporates a two-day seminar which will include addresses from the Australian Centre of Sustainable Business’ Dr Eric Ng on opportunities for packaged beef into China, Allied Beef’s James Maclean on working in supply chains, Nippon Meat Packers Oakey Beef Exports’ Kurt Wockner on marketing Queensland beef to the rest of the world, The International Centre for Climate Research’s Dave McRae on what the season ahead holds and Arcadian Organic and Natural Meat Co’s Jamie Ferguson on supplying niches products into global markets.
Dr Lyons and Nippon Meat Packer’s Oakey Abattoir general manager Pat Gleeson will speak at a networking function from 5:30pm tomorrow.
At the same function Queensland Choice Meats will be showcasing Grass Fed, 70 to 90 day Grain Fed and 120 day Grain Fed products from several producers such as Nolan Meats from Gympie, Lee Pratt Meats from Lismore and JBS Beef City. (To view the full Darling Downs Beef Xpo program and event details click here)
Later this month on September 22-24 the Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise’s own annual Ag in the Asian Century conference in Toowoomba will provide further access to several speakers with considerable expertise in the Chinese market, including Elders China managing director Craig Aldous, new Sanger Australia CEO James Campbell, China Agri-Busines Limited executive director Alfred Chung and National Australia Bank Regional Head of Food & Agribusiness, Asia/Institutional Banking Patrick Vizzone. Dr Lyons will also facilitate a panel session at the conference (To view the full Ag in the Asian Century conference program click here)
Trade mission highlights E-Commerce opportunities to China
Dr Lyons was among a senior business delegation that travelled to China with Mr Robb to demonstrate Australian support for the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) and to pursue opportunities being created by the bilateral relationship.
Dr Lyons praised Minister Robb for listening to businesses and his strong commitment to ensuring the ChAFTA became a reality.
“The overwhelming response to this agreement is that it is the best one China has negotiated and its impact is far beyond simple tariff reductions,” Dr Lyons said.
“It is a signal to businesses in both countries that the future is very bright between our two countries.
“Minister Robb has done an impressive job in getting this agreement in place and his willingness to listen to businesses around the world has been a major factor to its success.”
The landmark deal with China means Australia has now signed Free Trade Agreements with its major trading partners – Japan, South Korea and China – in just over a 12 month period.
Dr Lyons said that E-Commerce opportunities were a significant focus throughout the delegation, with much discussion focused on what these platforms mean for Australian businesses taking advantage of the new ChAFTA.
“E-Commerce – it’s there, it’s real, it’s big and everyone is talking about it,” Dr Lyons said.
“But, everyone is still also trying to figure out how it all works – it’s still not a thing that too many people really understand.”
Even though people are out there doing this thing called ‘E-Commerce’, Dr Lyons said Australian businesses need to remember that they are still dealing with a Chinese company, so there are still cultural barriers and challenges.
However, with over 300 million online consumers in China alone, and with online retail sales having grown by 50 per cent reaching $A 500 billion in 2014, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, it is clear that E-Commerce platforms are a major opportunity for businesses wanting to reach Asia.
“E-Commerce companies that no one had heard of a year ago, like JD.com and Yihaodian, are now the people we are visiting – they are a part of this online retail story and are opening doors for our businesses,” Dr Lyons said.
“The real beauty of online ecommerce is that there is an added transparency to tracking want consumers are actually buying – which provides a real opportunity for those supplying to these Asian markets to actually learn about the consumer.
“Suppliers therefore can actually have a much more direct relationship with the consumer because the interaction is a lot closer and more immediate – you can see what’s selling and what’s not.”
Sources: Darling Downs Beef Xpo, Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise.