China’s growing middle class has an insatiable appetite for Australian beef, and now an extra 36 Australian meat exporters will be granted special access to put steaks on hot plates.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and China’s second most powerful leader Li Keqiang sealed a deal during their bilateral meeting last month expanding the chilled meat market access from 11 firms to all eligible Australian exporters.
The meat announcement is part of a new phase of the year-old China-Australia Free Trade Deal.
‘‘Australia is the only country in the world with this market access,’’ Mr Turnbull said, adding Australian beef exports to China were already worth $600million a year.
‘‘This new agreement will drive significant future growth.’’
Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said Australia would also be selling donkey meat and edible skins into China. He’s pushing to export kangaroo meat as well.
‘‘What we are providing is food for a more affluent society,’’ Mr Joyce said.
‘‘Once people start making a buck and they eat fillet steak they want to eat it again and again and again.’’
Brexit good for us: Downer
In other trade news, former long-time Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says Britain’s exit from the European Union will boost trade opportunities for Australian farmers.
Mr Downer, now Australia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, said Brexit would allow Australia to negotiate a free-trade agreement with the UK, removing entry barriers to the British market.
‘‘And a lot of those barriers are in agriculture. Beef and sheep meat, horticulture and the like,’’ the one-time Liberal leader said in Adelaide last Thursday.
‘‘We will be able to gain more access to the British market than we currently have.
‘‘And of course they will be able to have slightly better access to the Australian market, which means we’ll be able to import inputs for business from the UK at lower prices.’’
British Prime Minister Theresa May kicked off formal divorce proceedings with the EU on Thursday with the signing of Article 50.
She now has two years to negotiate and settle the terms of the exit before it comes into effect in late March 2019.