China will cut its 10% tariff – a tax on imported goods – on Australian cattle and sheep by the end of next year.
Its decision comes after new protocols governing the conditions in which cattle, sheep and goats are exported to China were agreed between Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Chinese officials.
“Australian exporters and producers have identified great potential in the trade of feeder and slaughter animals to China, so we welcome improved access to the market and the removal of tariffs,” said Simon Westaway, CEO of the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC).
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“Live feeder and slaughter cattle trade to China is now gaining momentum after initial air consignments last year, two seaborne shipments so far this year and further trade expected before Christmas.
“This trade with China represents new, closed-loop supply chains, with the highest levels of control, traceability and animal welfare in keeping with the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System,” he said.
Revised protocols also broaden access to the Chinese market for producers of slaughter sheep, complementing exiting trader for both sheepmeat and breeder sheep.
Westaway said the announcement would create a “new opportunity to develop Australia’s already strong livestock export relationship with China, which was worth AU$173 million in 2016”.
Away from China, ALEC said it was putting pressure on Saudi Arabia, as the richest country in the Middle East, to resume its imports of Australian sheep. The trade association told industry to watch this space as it hoped for a “breakthrough” with Saudi Arabia “in the near future”.