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Australia confident on China live export deal

(Transcript from SBS World News Radio)

The federal government is optimistic that it can successfully close a billion dollar a year live cattle export deal with China.

深圳桑拿网

The deal between the Australian and Chinese governments would double Australia’s live export cattle trade.

The finalised live cattle deal is expected to be formally announced after this weekend’s APEC talks in Beijing on the long-awaited bilateral free trade agreement.

Amanda Cavill reports.

(Click on the audio tab above to hear the full report)

Australia and China have been in free trade agreement discussions for almost a decade, but it’s thought the cattle export agreement is not formally linked to those negotiations.

Coalition frontbencher Christopher Pyne says, under the export deal, one million head of cattle a year would be shipped to China for slaughter.

Mr Pyne has told Channel Nine, the deal is expected to be finalised soon.

“It’s a million cattle worth a billion dollars, the ink is not try dry on the contract, though. It’s a great breakthrough. This is the kind of thing that happens when you have a government that is focused on economic outcomes. So we have a free trade agreement with Japan, one with South Korea, working on one with China.”

China has previously barred Australian live cattle exports because of the presence of bluetongue virus in parts of northern Australia.

However, under the deal, exports from northern Australia would be restricted to the months of the year when the disease is less common.

Cattle from southern Australia would be shipped to China all year round.

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce is optimistic that a deal can be done with China that will benefit Australian beef producers.

“Great to be here on the cusp of a new major announcement for the Australian beef industry. Over a long period of time we have been working, negotiating with the Chinese Government through to the department of agriculture for the protocols for export of live animals into China. Now this has the potential market size of a million head a year. We’ll start off low, start off with 30 or 40,000 head a year and quickly build. “

Independent MP Andrew Wilke has long fought to ban the live export trade.

He says there’s no justification for sending live stock offshore, when processed meat could be sold.

“This is an appalling development. The government should be winding up the trade not ramping it up like it is. The fact is that this industry is systemically cruel and we’ve now had evidence over a number of years in countries as diverse as Turkey, Isreal, other countries in the middle east, Pakistan, repeatedly in Indonesia we have seen evidence that this is a sytemically cruel industry.”

Trade Minister Andrew Robb is currently in Beijing attempting to broker a free trade agreement with China.

The agreement is expected to be signed when Chinese President Xi Jinping is in Canberra after next week’s G20 Summit.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten has accused the government of releasing the news on the cattle deal to hide the fact that the free trade agreement with China will actually contain bad news.

“We see the Government again just playing politics. They’re doing selective leaks to soften up the electorate for the bits of the free trade agreement they don’t get. Where’s the gains they’re making, where is the progress not as good as they hoped. When it comes to sugar, that is a relevant issue. When it comes to access for beef cattle into Chinese markets, that’s a relevant issue. There’s also tariffs on our aluminium, on our iron ore which the Chinese have put on.”

Australian cattle producers already have live export deals with Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Producers have welcomed the China deal, but say it will take some time to increase the national stock to fulfil the obligation.

 

 

 

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