Two Korean companies have revealed plans to spend at least $42 million on their Queensland beef businesses.
Lotte International will spend $40 to 50 million to upgrade its 17,000 head Sandalwood Feedlot at Dalby and develop Wagyu cattle farms, paving the way for increased exports of grain-fed Queensland beef to Korea.
The company has invested about $50 million in Queensland since purchasing the feedlot in 2019.
CJ CheilJedang, meanwhile, has committed $2 million to expand its production of value-added beef and beef bone extracts by 30 per cent next year at Toowoomba's CJ NutraCon.
CJ NutraCon's total annual exports from Queensland in 2020 were valued at $17.5 million.
The announcements were made during a virtual three-day trade mission.
Sandalwood Feedlot managing director Geoff Cornford said their spend included short term projects such as upgrades to feed, water and pen infrastructure, as well as long term goals like breeding Wagyu.
"It's an old facility in need of investment, so next year we're upgrading the feed mill facility, the stock water system and there's also future plans to redevelop the pens - all the key things to look after cattle in a feedlot," Mr Cornford said.
"Developing the breeding and backgrounding assets is a longer term plan of the business.
"International markets are demanding more Wagyu, so it's a good news story if you're a Wagyu producer."
Queensland Treasurer and Trade and Investment Minister Cameron Dick said it was welcome news for Queensland's beef industry and would help grow jobs and increase exports.
"Lotte International and CJ CheilJedang together employ more than 50 Queenslanders, and deals like this will create more Queensland jobs," Mr Dick said.
Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said the two companies' investment was a big tick of approval for the state's high standards of quality from paddock to plate.
Queensland is a substantial supplier of food and agricultural products to Korea, with exports in the sector reaching $1.2 billion in 2020-21, up from $535 million ten years prior.
Australia celebrates 60 years of diplomatic relations with Korea in 2021, and last month, Queensland toasted its 20-year trade and investment relationship with Korea, hosting an official reception in Seoul.
The Queensland Government established its office in Seoul in 2001 - the first Australian state to open a trade office in Korea.
Newly appointed Queensland trade and investment commissioner for Korea Ryan Freer said the strong trade and investment ties would continue.
"Our goal is to continue strengthening and growing Queensland's trade and investment relationship with Korea, creating win-win opportunities to advance and build industry capability, adding value to both economies," Mr Freer said.
Rabobank senior animal proteins analyst Angus Gidley-Baird said while geopolitical influences impacted other beef export markets, well-established trade agreements and historical business relationships would help maintain access for Australian beef into the Japanese and South Korean markets.
Mr Gidley-Baird says Australia and the US currently "hold the box seat" as dominant suppliers of beef to Japan and South Korea, but there is "no room for complacency" when it comes to these markets.
"There are now other global players with their eyes on these valuable markets," Mr Gidley-Baird said.
"Poland, Ireland, the UK, Mexico and Canada have all increased volumes of beef to Japan recently, though volumes in South Korea are more stable.
"While these other exporters remain a small proportion of the market, Canada, Mexico, Poland and Ireland all have possibilities of increasing scale. And increasing formalisation of trade alliances and trade relationships will continue to erode Australia's current trade agreement advantage."
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