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NFF to join agricultural delegation in China

11 September 2014

President of the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), Brent Finlay, will join with Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce MP, and other business and industry representatives, on a week-long trip to China, to further strengthen Australia’s ties with its largest trading partner.

Mr Finlay said Australia’s relationship with China has always been important to the agricultural sector and looked forward to working more cooperatively with China in the future.

“Just over a decade ago, Australia’s overall two-way trade with China totalled $3.2 billion, and now sits at more than $150 billion each year – this is exponential growth,” Mr Finlay said.

“While we are still working through the details of what this will look like in the future, there’s no doubt that our relationship is only going to grow stronger.

“The trip is an opportunity to learn first-hand about Chinese agricultural systems and supply chains. We also hope to leave behind some valuable insights about Australian agriculture, and how we can help meet their growing demand for quality, safe and sustainable food and fibre.

“Gaining a greater understanding of how our two nations can complement each other is key to ensuring that Australian policies are designed to make the most out of opportunities in Asia.

Mr Finlay also said a comprehensive trade deal with China was a key priority for the agricultural sector.

“There’s a bright future for Australian agriculture in China, but it’s not going to come easily. These are complex processes, involving substantial commitment from everyone involved,” Mr Finlay said.

“The NFF has long advocated for trade agreements to be all-inclusive, factoring in all of Australia’s key agricultural commodities.

“And while our agricultural trade with China has increased in recent years, our farmers still face tariffs of up to 25 per cent on beef into China, 12-15 per cent on lamb and sheep meat and 10-15 per cent on dairy produce – this is where our counterparts like New Zealand have the competitive edge.

“Achieving strong trade outcomes is crucial to our farmers’ future,” Mr Finlay said.

The delegation will be in China from 14 to 20 September, visiting Beijing and one of China’s key agricultural provinces, Heilongjiang.

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