The National Farmers Federation President Fiona Simson says a landmark shipment of live slaughter cattle to China represents a valuable new chapter in Australia’s cattle trade and a new selling option for farmers.
A consignment of 1200 – mostly Angus cattle – left Portland in Victoria on Saturday as part of a new ‘feeder and slaughter’ cattle agreement signed between Australia and China.
“The agreement is a tangible example of the benefits trade liberalisation can deliver to farmers,” Ms Simson said.
Under the new agreement, the export of live cattle to China can only be carried out by licenced exporters.
“The standards set under the protocol, and the expectations of Chinese importers, requires specific skills, experience and supply chain integrity which is absolutely unique to Australia’s livestock export industry and broader beef sector,” Ms Simson said.
The beef is destined for high-end retail outlets including hotels and restaurants and will cater for China’s growing demand for premium red meat.
Ms Simson said Australia and China shared mutual values around biosecurity, traceability, welfare and also importantly a shared appreciation for high quality agricultural produce.
“These shared values have seen China emerge as a major export destination for Australia’s agricultural industries, which includes the existing trade of beef and dairy breeder cattle which continues to be highly valuable for both countries,” Ms Simson said
“It is the logical next step that we expand this relationship to include the trade of slaughter and feeder cattle.”
The cattle will be delivered to Shidao in the northern Shandong Province and will be processed within 14 days of delivery under the supervision of Australian livestock export specialists.
The trade of beef cattle to China for slaughter is governed by the regulatory conditions set out in the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL) and the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS).
The agreement signed between Australia and China has been a long-time in the making with Australian exporters working closely with the Chinese customers and Government to get the required supply chain controls and associated infrastrure in place.
“The strong demand for Australian cattle is demonstrated by our Chinese customers’ investment in in purpose-built cattle facilities in-market, including ESCAS-compliant feedlots and abattoirs,” Ms Simson said.
China’s ‘closed loop’ cattle supply chain ensures the highest possible health, welfare, control and traceability standards are upheld.
Ms Simson said Australia’s trade relationship with China was going from strength to strength and the commencement of the feeder/slaughter cattle trade was yet another example of how the two nations could collaborate for mutual benefit.
“Importantly Australian beef producers now also have another, valuable marketing option at their disposal,” Ms Simson said.