A new trade deal between Australia and China is close to being finalised, with one million Australian cattle, valued at $1 billion set to be exported to China in 2015.
Australian officials are in Beijing attempting to broker the agreement between the two nations, which they hope will be signed when Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Australia for the G20 Summit next week, ABC reports.
“It’s a million cattle, worth $1 billion. The ink is not dry on the contract though,” Government frontbencher Christopher Pyne told Channel Nine.
“So we have a free trade agreement with Japan, free trade agreement with South Korea, working on one with China.”
Australia and China have been discussing agricultural trade for years but constant hurdles have prevented any successful outcomes.
Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce, who recently visited China to push for the free trade deal, said there were cultural techniques to observe.
“The tricks of dealing in Asia is you don’t pre-empt their decision, you let them make it and then you celebrate it,” he told Lateline.
Joyce said the Chinese were interested in Australia’s soft commodities such as beef, sheep and goats.
“We are also getting better prices for dairy. So we are not talking about an unviable industry but an extremely viable industry,” he said.
China bought more than 78,000 head of dairy cattle and around 15,000 beef cattle from Australia last financial year in addition to purchases of breeding stock.