Business / Economy

Australia signs live cattle export deal with China

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-07-21 11:19

CANBERRA - Australian Minister of Agriculture Barnaby Joyce has announced a breakthrough in live cattle export trade negotiations with China on Monday.

Joyce said the Australian and Chinese veterinary authorities were in the process of formalizing agreement on animal health certification requirements, which would allow the industry to begin to prepare the commercial and Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) arrangements for trade to commence.

"I was very pleased today to sign the agreement of health conditions for trade of Australian feeder and slaughter cattle to China -- now it's over to my counterpart, Minister Zhi Shuping, to sign on the dotted line and finalize the agreement between our two nations," a statement quoted Joyce as saying.

"Over the past five years we've had a significant trade in breeder cattle with China, primarily for dairy heifers. Now, I'm pleased to announce we are a step closer to the commencement in trade in live slaughter and feeder cattle to China," he said.

Joyce said China will be the seventh livestock slaughter cattle export market that Australia has opened since he took office in 2013, including Lebanon, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Cambodia and Thailand.

Once the agreement is formalized, exporters will be able to begin working with importers in China to implement the ESCAS and establish supply chains that meet the requirements.

"This industry is a real Australian success story. We are known world-wide for our high-quality and reliable livestock trade, and now industry has another opportunity for trade to increase," Joyce said.

The deal with China opens a "massive market" too big for Australia to meet the demand immediately.

"We would not be able to supply what they want immediately. We will build up to those numbers over eight to ten years. Ultimately, they want around about a million head a year. We couldn't supply that now," Joyce was quoted by newspaper The Australian on Monday.

Joyce expected the live cattle trade with China would be worth up to AU$2 billion ($1.48 billion) in ten years' time.

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