23 April, 2015
JOINT MEDIA RELEASE - MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE BARNABY JOYCE AND PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, SENATOR RICHARD COLBECK
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, has signed a wheat and barley protocol with China, while in Beijing today.
Senator Colbeck said the protocol would facilitate continued trade in wheat and barley with China.
"This protocol will support our $1.5 billion annual wheat and barley trade with China, and will be crucial in underpinning and expanding our grain trade opportunities in this market," Senator Colbeck said.
"China is a key market for Australia's wheat and barley exports and the elimination of the 3% tariff on barley exports on entry into force of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement will only further enhance the competitiveness of our exports to this growing market.
"In particular, Australian barley exports to China have already seen dramatic growth--barley exports to this market doubled over the last year to over $1 billion and accounted for over 60% of total Australian barley exports in 2013-14.
Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said the signing of this important protocol demonstrated the Coalition Government's strong commitment to delivering more favourable market access - and reducing both tariff and technical barriers - for Australian producers.
"There is a growing appetite in China for Australian grains because of our well deserved reputation as a nation of clean green quality produce.
"By listening to China, and working closely with our domestic industry, we have arrived at a protocol that meets China's requirements and will enable exports to continue.
"The new protocol signed today will replace the previous protocol first developed 12 years ago.
"I want to thank all Australian grains industry representatives for their constructive and science-based input to the development of the protocol, especially the Grains Industry Market Access Forum (GIMAF)," Minister Joyce said.
The protocol covers phytosanitary requirements for Australian wheat and barley imports into China, and comes into force today, remaining valid for a minimum period of 3 years.
Senator Colbeck is in China with representatives of Australia's forest industry as part of the Forest and Forest Industry Market Development Mission: Japan and China which runs from 19-24 April.
Senator Colbeck has also been holding high-level discussions with government counterparts and industry representatives about a range of agricultural export issues.
"China is a vitally important trading partner for Australia, and is our largest agricultural export market, worth around $9.8 billion," Senator Colbeck said.
"Global competition to supply this market is fierce. The work done by the Australian Government to finalise the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) gives us a significant competitive advantage in this market.
"My visit to China was part of the government's efforts to ensure that the opportunities presented by ChAFTA can be realised by all Australian exporters and producers--our access to these markets is only valuable if it's delivering real opportunities at the farmgate."