Although there has been no formal announcement, inside sources to the government have indicated that Australia is close to reaching a deal with China that would work up to sending 1 million cattle worth a $1 billion to the country. This news comes a few days before the G20 conference is set to meet in Brisbane where the Chinese president may be signing the completed agreement with Australia.
Although the cattle export deal is not directly linked to the free trade agreement, its implications are similar.
"It's a great breakthrough,” said government frontbencher Christopher Pyne to Channel Nine. “I mean this is the kind of thing that happens when you have a government that's focused on economic outcomes.”
Initial reports cited between 30,000 to 50,000 cattle exported a year; it will take Australia several years before it hits the 1 million assumed figure. 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.
Australian officials are current in Beijing with the hope to finalise the agreement before the G20 meeting, so it can be signed then. Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has commented that he is optimistic about the possibility of an agreement being reached by the G20 conference, but has not made any official stance on China’s decision.
"The tricks of dealing in Asia is you don't pre-empt their decision, you let them make it and then you celebrate it," Joyce shared with Lateline. "We have a massive up-swing from when we came to government to [where] we are now in the price of beef.”
Information sourced from ABC.