CHINA'S ravenous demand for Australian beef could soon lead to some major cattle station purchases, with one of several Chinese importers, Snow Dragon Group, looking to buy land.
La demanda voraz de China por carne de vacuno de Australia pronto podría dar lugar a algunas de las principales compras de ranchos, por uno de los varios importadores chinos, Snow Dragon Group, que pondera comprar tierras australianas.
Australia exportaría anualmente un millón de cabezas de ganado valoradas entre US$ 856 y US$ 1,000 millones.
El pacto abriría nuevos mercados a los ganaderos australianos y satisfaga la voras demanda de carne roja en China.
"Es un gran avance", a criterio del ministro australiano Christopher Pyne. China es el mayor socio comercial de Australia.Ambos países buscan también poder concretar un acuerdo de libre comercio.
Durante años negocian la exportación de animales vivos pero las conversaciones oficiales que condujeron a este acuerdo sólo despegaron en febrero. El pacto sobre exportación de ganado bovino no parece estar directamente vinculado al acuerdo de libre comercio, según informó la emisora pública australiana ABC.
El convenio no ha sido anunciado formalmente todavía, pero las autoridades australianas ruegan porque se concrete pronto.
Acuerdo cárneo: Australia y China están cerca de finalizar acuerdo de mil millones dólares por exportación de un millón de bovinos
Australia está por asegurar acuerdo de exportación de ganado en pie con China por valor de hasta US $ 1 mil millones al año.
Si bien el acuerdo aún no se ha finalizado, el ministro de Agricultura Barnaby Joyce dijo que tiene el potencial de impulsar el precio del ganado y ayudar a los agricultores de Australia.
"Durante un largo período de tiempo, hemos estado trabajando la negociación con el gobierno chino ... para la exportación de animales vivos en China", dijo el señor Joyce a los periodistas en Tamworth: "esto tiene un tamaño del mercado potencial de un millón de cabezas al año."
El tamaño de la operación significaría la duplicación de las exportaciones de ganado en pie existentes de Australia, lo que provocó la crítica de los opositores a la medida.
El político independiente Andrew Wilkie dijo que el acuerdo sería un trato terrible ... que se traducirá en ... más crueldad con los animales australianos !!! ...
"Hace poco llamé al Gobierno Federal "un grupete de sádicos" cuando se trata de bienestar de los animales", dijo Wilkie en un comunicado. "Resulta que un lamentable "culto a la muerte" habría sido una mejor descripción en lo que se refiere al comercio de exportación de animales vivos" sentenció.
El Gobierno dijo que el acuerdo de ganado no estaba vinculado a las largas conversaciones en pro de un Tratado de Libre Comercio (TLC) entre Australia y China y que es una "coincidencia" que ambos acuerdos estén cerca de cerrarse.
China y Australia han estado en negociaciones comerciales del TLC durante más de nueve años y ha habido complicaciones en lo relativo a las exportaciones agrícolas y pecuarias.
Funcionarios australianos están en Beijing, con la esperanza de finalizar el acuerdo para que pueda ser firmado cuando el presidente chino visite Australia para la reunión del G-20 la semana que viene. .
Beef deal: Australia, China close to finalising $1 billion agreement that would see 1 million cattle exported
Australia is on the cusp of securing a "breakthrough" live cattle deal with China worth up to $1 billion a year.
While the deal is yet to be finalised, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said it has the potential to boost the price of cattle and help Australia's farmers.
"Over a long period of time, we've been working [and] negotiating with the Chinese government... for the export of live animals into China," Mr Joyce told reporters in Tamworth.
"Now this has the potential market size of a million head a year."
The size of the deal would amount to a doubling of Australia's existing live cattle exports, prompting critics of the trade to renew calls for it to be shut down.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie said the agreement would be a dreadful deal that will result in more cruelty to Australian animals.
"I recently called the Federal Government a pack of sadists when it comes to animal welfare," Mr Wilkie said in a statement.
"Turns out evil death cult would have been a better description as far as the live animal export trade is concerned."
The Government said the cattle deal was not linked to long-running Free Trade Agreement (FTA) talks between Australia and China and that it is a "coincidence" both are close to being finalised.
China and Australia have been in FTA trade talks for more than nine years, but there have been ongoing complications over agricultural exports.
Australian officials are in Beijing, hoping to finalise the agreement so it can be signed when the Chinese president visits Australia for the G20 meeting next week.
Pyne heralds 'breakthrough' but Shorten urges caution
Government frontbencher Christopher Pyne has described the live cattle deal as a "breakthrough" that demonstrates the Coalition's commitment to boosting trade.
"This is the kind of thing that happens when you have a government that's focused on economic outcomes," Mr Pyne told Channel Nine
"So we have a Free Trade Agreement with Japan, Free Trade Agreement with South Korea, working on one with China."
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Labor was willing to support the trade deal, but has accused the Government of selectively leaking the good news without providing details of any trade-offs.
He said the Government was treating voters like "mugs".
"This is the classic Abbott Government magic show: they never really tell you what's going on behind the curtain," Mr Shorten told reporters in Brisbane.
China already buys Australian dairy and beef cows for breeding purposes, and took more than 78,000 head of dairy cattle and about 15,000 beef cattle last financial year.
Agreement on 'health protocol' needed, livestock exporters say
Queensland's rural lobby group Agforce said the impending deal would be a welcome boost to the industry.
President Ian Burnett said the beef industry had been struggling with drought and low prices.
"[The deal provides] another opportunity to access another market and really opens up... a new area which hasn't been accessed before," Mr Burnett said.
But Livestock Exporters Council chief executive Allison Penfold sent a cautious message, saying crucial elements of the cattle deal were still being negotiated.
"There's a great deal of commercial interest on both sides to see live cattle being exported to China but the first step in enabling that to happen is an agreement on a health protocol," Ms Penfold said.
"Obviously we hope the negotiations are completed as soon as is practicable."
Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association president David Warriner warned speculation about a specific figure may harm the chances of a deal being done.
"The million head has been pulled out of the air from somewhere and we need to put it into some context," he said.
"China could take less or it could take more by significant proportions, so the million head is a dangerous number to bandy around."
The Australian dairy industry
Australian dairy is a $13 billion farm, manufacturing and export industry. With a farmgate value alone of $4 billion, the Australian dairy industry enriches regional Australian communities.
Australia’s 6700 dairy farmers produce around 9.5 billion litres of milk a year. The Australian dairy industry directly employs 43,000 Australians on farms and in factories, while more than 100,000 Australians are indirectly employed in related service industries.
- View dairy R&D projects
Dairy is also one of Australia’s leading rural industries in terms of adding value through downstream processing. Much of this processing occurs close to farming areas, thereby generating economic activity in country regions. ABARE estimates the regional economic multiplier effect at 2.5 from the dairy industry.
Dairying is a well-established industry across temperate and some subtropical areas of Australia. While the bulk of milk production occurs in south-east states, all states have dairy industries that supply fresh drinking milk to nearby cities and towns. A range of high-quality consumer products, including fresh milks, custards, yogurts and a wide variety of cheese types, are produced in most Australian states. Nevertheless, the manufacturing of longer shelf life products, such as cheese and specialised milk powders, is becoming more concentrated in the south-east region of Australia.
The Australian dairy industry today
Dairying continues to be an important rural industry of Australia. On-farm productivity continues to increase through improved pasture and feed and herd
While supplementary feeding with grains is becoming increasingly common, the Australian dairy industry remains predominantly pasture-based. All States (Victoria being most dominant) have viable milk productions, supplying fresh milk to nearby cities and towns. As a major regional employer, the industry value-adds through the processing of milk to produce fresh lines such as butter, cream, cheese and yogurt. Bulk milk and specialised powdered milks are also significant.
Australia's dairy heritage
In 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleeters came ashore at Sydney Cove with seven cows and two bulls bred to survive a hostile environment. This small herd soon moved to the greener pastures of Parramatta where they escaped into the bush not to be seen for some seven years. Upon their recapture, the herd comprised 61 cattle. It was the cows of this group which became Australia's first dairy herd. By 1800, through breeding and importing, there were 332 bulls and 712 cows in the colony. The settlers were adapting to their new Australian environment. They made butter and cheese during spring and summer (when cows produce most milk), and preserved these commodities with salt for autumn and winter.
Pioneers such as John Macarthur imported more dairy cattle to his Parramatta farm while, in 1805, Dr John Harris built Sydney's first commercial dairy at what is now inner-suburban Ultimo. However, Tasmania gave Australia its first cheese industry. In the 1820s, the Van Dieman's Lan Company established Australia's first commercial cheese factory. Farmers from the NSW district of Illawarra began to send their cheese and butter to Sydney markets by sea, and as more ports opened, dairying extended all the way down to Bega.
In 1832, with two cows and two calves, John Fawkner arrived in what was to become Melbourne. With the ideal dairying conditions around Port Phillip Bay, the herd grew. Within a year, there were 155 cattle in the district. By 1850, there were 347,000. South Australian dairy farmers were becoming so successful that they were selling cheese to Tasmanians. In 1891, there were almost 1 million dairy cows in Australia. The gold rush brought thousands of people to Australia. With its collapse, many were offered Government pastoral leases on the outskirts of inland towns. By 1900, there was hardly a township, even in remote outback Australia, that did not have its own fresh milk. The future of an extraordinary industry