With a population of about 1.4 billion, an expanding economy and a rapidly growing middle class, there is no doubt China is and will continue to be Australia’s most important export market.
Next week I will be part of the Access China 16 business delegation travelling from Toowoomba to Shanghai for a five-day program of meetings and site visits aimed at accelerating and activating opportunities in the Chinese market.
The recent signing of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement and the subsequent elimination of many agricultural tariffs provides many opportunities for Queensland primary producers and agribusinesses.
Already, China is our fourth largest export market for Australian beef with almost 150,000 tonnes exported in 2015 at a value of about a billion dollars, while our sorghum exports were worth $379 million in 2014/15 in what is an ever changing and complex market.
In addition, China is Australia’s second most important sheep meat export destination and accounts for 73 per cent of Australia’s global wool exports.
The Access China 16 delegation organised by Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise is aimed at helping Australian businesses grow their understanding of the Chinese market, connect with potential customers and develop relationships with other delegates.
Key speakers at the ‘Ag in the Asian Century’ conference will include Australian exporters currently trading with China as well as Chinese customers describing their own supply chain.
Industry tours will include site visits to the headquarters of Chinese online retailer Alibaba, Qantas’ brand new cold chain logistics site at Shanghai’s Pudong airport, and a Shanghai beef importing company.
There will also be a beef extravaganza dinner with invited guests to include a range of Chinese beef importers.
The delegation is a fantastic initiative to build our understanding and relationship with China, and I’d like to thank our corporate partner iOR Petroleum for providing generous financial support so the AgForce CEO and I can be among the agricultural representatives taking part.
iOR Petroleum clearly values their relationship with AgForce, and also recognises the value of strengthening relationships with agricultural trading partners in China to ensure a brighter future for regional and rural communities in Queensland.