Minister heads to China in search of FTA and global food security agreement

Posted by Editorial on 15th April 2009

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Tony Burke is in China and Hong Kong this week with Australian industry leaders promoting wine and meat and pushing for a free trade agreement.Mr Burke will meet with Chinese counterparts including the ministers responsible for agriculture and quarantine and the head of China’s State Forestry Administration.

He is expected to seek undertakings from China to work collaboratively on supporting global food supplies and to accelerate negotiations to forge a free trade agreement that delivers benefits for Australia’s farming, fishing and forestry industries.

“Australia is a leading exporter of food to the world, so any global strategy to address concerns about global food security depends on our ability to supply food freely,” he said. “Our trade interests* are strongly aligned with the solution to global food security.”

“As major agriculture-producing nations, Australia and China have a shared interest in reducing barriers to international trade.”

In Shanghai, Mr Burke will join Australian industry leaders to promote Australian wine and meat and will sign a Memorandum of Understanding on wine with China to assist Australia’s vignerons and winemakers in gaining a foothold in the rapidly growing market.

The Minister is also expected to sign a separate Memorandum of Understanding on wine in Hong Kong.

*China is Australia’s second-largest agricultural trading partner, importing around $3 billion a year of Australian agriculture, fisheries and forestry products.