Australia’s Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Investment said the meat-processing firms, which account for 30% of Australia’s beef exports to China, can now resume exporting.
In July, China banned imports from Australian Country Choice, Thomas Foods International, Kilcoy Pastoral Company, JBS Beef City, Primo JBS and Northern Co-operative Meat Company. The Australian government said that the Chinese Government had objected to labelling inconsistencies on the beef and lamb imports from Australia.
Patrick Hutchinson, CEO of the Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC), which represents retailers, processors, exporters and small goods manufacturers in the meat and livestock industry, had estimated the business loss of $1m a day across the six firms.
“This (resolution) was a large team effort, led by (Trade, Tourism and Investment) Minister Ciobo, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) departmental staff and AMIC,” AMIC chairman Lachie Hart said.
On the lifting of the suspension, the Ministry stated: “The government works hard to preserve our clean, green and safe food credentials and this remains key to maintaining our agricultural trade with countries such as China.”
Both AMIC and the Ministry said that they would continue to work with the DAWR and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to cooperate with the Chinese authorities in recommencing trade for the six firms.
According to the Ministry, beef exports to China were worth $670 million in 2016.
Just in March, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Premier Li Keqiang had signed a deal to grow agricultural trade between the two Asia-Pacific nations. The number of meat processing firms permitted to send chilled or refrigerated and vacuum-packed beef to China was due to more than triple. With the ban over, trade growth is set to continue.