Trade strengthens between China and Australia
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SHANGHAI, CHINA — Representatives from a variety of grain groups in Australia recently traveled to China to discuss the possibilities of expanding trade. The delegation included representatives from Grain Trade Australia (GTA), the Australian Oilseeds Federation (AOF), Grain Growers Ltd. (GGL), the Australian Grain Exports Association (AGEA) and the Australian Export Grain Innovation Centre (AEGIC).

The groups first gathered at the Australian Grains Industry Conference (AGIC) in Shanghai before going to Beijing, China, for meetings with industry associations, trade members and government officials.

Pat OShannassy CEO of GTA
Pat O’Shannassy, chief executive officer of the GTA

“This has become an annual activity for the Australian grains industry, and it is fostering strong relationships between our industry organizations and our counterpart trade associations in China,” said Pat O’Shannassy, chief executive officer of the GTA. “These relationships are invaluable   in assisting the Australian industry to better understand the China market and manage market access issues.”

During the meetings, the Australian delegation said it heard about the shakeup in the Chinese administration and the potential impact it may have on the grains industry.

“It was encouraging for Australian growers to see the shift away from a policy of self?sufficiency to one of food security where imports would play an enhanced role,” said Luke Mathews, trade and economics manager for the GGL.

O’Shannassy added that all the meetings “had a very positive tone,” and the delegation was optimistic about the potential for sharing of information.

“China is an extremely important and significant market for the Australian grains industry with exports exceeding 6 million tonnes in 2016-17 across wheat, barley, sorghum and canola,” O’Shannassy said. “This represents around a quarter of Australia’s grain exports in total, but for some commodities like barley China accounted for 70% of Australia’s exports in 2016-17.

“The AGIC Asia events and industry discussions are very important for the Australian grains industry to showcase the inherent high quality, reliability and safety of its products in its very important Asian markets.”

Richard Simonaitis CEO of AEGIC
Richard Simonaitis, CEO of AEGIC

Richard Simonaitis, CEO of AEGIC, said the Australian grains industry welcomes the opportunity to promote the quality and value of the country’s grains and oilseeds.

“It is important to regularly engage with customers about the grain quality characteristics they value and prioritize so that demand is maintained and increased,” he said. “This delegation was an excellent opportunity to reinforce the quality and value proposition of Australian grains.”