Govt raises hopes of China beef trade access progress by Christmas  

Beef Central, 15/11/2023

THE Federal Government is optimistic that China will lift its remaining trade blocks by Christmas as relations stabilise following Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s visit to Beijing earlier this month.

The Labor government has placed emphasis on patching up relations with China since coming to office last year. China has lifted some trade blocks imposed following a 2020 diplomatic dispute after Australia called for an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19.

“I remain very confident … that by Christmas all of these trade impediments will be removed,” trade minister Don Farrell told ABC Radio from San Francisco yesterday, while attending Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings.

“And we will have restored that stable relationship that we want with our largest trading partner.”

Currently 11 large Australian beef processing plants are suspended for chilled and/or frozen beef trade to China, mostly following minor regulatory or documentation issues. Some of the suspensions date back as far as 2017, while others occurred during the COVID infection period as recently as 2021.

A second list of red meat plants seeking China license access – estimated to be around a dozen in number – also remains unresolved.

All documentary evidence supporting resumption of trade has been lodged with Chinese authorities.

Minister Farrell said he hoped to resolve the issues over beef and lobster exports ahead of a meeting with Chinese counterpart Wang Wentao in San Francisco.

Australian and Chinese trade ministers met for the first time in three years in May this year.

With some individual beef plant suspensions now dating back six years, some trade sources have expressed caution about being ‘overly optimistic’ about a trade access breakthrough with China any time soon.

“We’ll believe it when it happens,” one large exporter told Beef Central this morning.








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