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Mr Kerin urges international examination of new Australian study on China's grain economy



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MT97 -16 December 1992

MR KERIN URGES INTERNATIONAL EXAMINATION OF NEW AUSTRALIAN STUDY ON CHINA'S GRAIN ECONOMY

Australia will bring to the attention of the incoming United States Administration the findings of an important new Australian study of China's grains market, the Minister for Trade and Overseas Development, John Kerin, said today.

Launching the study Grain in China in Canberra, Mr Kerin said that it identified the increasingly important impact developments in China would have upon the future of the global grains trade. -

"China is now both the world's biggest consumer and importer of grains, however the success of its economic reforms in fuelling growing demand has not yet been fully appreciated by the international community," he said.

"China's economic reform program and the opening of its markets to international trade have been intensified in the past 12 months and this report may help to support and facilitate that process.

"Australia will continue to discuss these issues with the Chinese Government, as I did during my recent visit to China."

According to the study, China's grain imports could total some 50 million tonnes per annum by the end of the decade. But the report also argues that this will depend on the stability of the international grains market and upon whether China is prepared to relax its policy of grain self-sufficiency.

"The trerids identified by this study deserve very careful examination, not only by Australia and other major grain-trading nations, and by China itself, but also by those who, like Australia, have been arguing for so long for the inclusion of agriculture within the GATT'," Mr Kerin said.

"To help begin that examination I have today, with its authors, presented the study to representatives of the private sector, rural industries, universities, relevant Government departments and agencies, the news media, and foreign Ambassadors in Canberra.

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

"I will also send copies to key members of the incoming United States

Administration following President Clinton's inauguration on 20 January and to relevant members. of the US Congress.

"I will recommend Washington's careful examination of the study's findings in the light of the Export Enhancement Program (EEP) and of US trade with China generally." •

Mr Kerin said that the Department of Foreign Affairs and,Trade will also examine the policy implications of the study and will seek contributions to its consideration of the report from other departments, state governments, and industry.

Grain in China was written by Professor Ross Garnaut and Dr Guonan Ma of the Australian National University and commissioned by the East Asia Analytical Unit of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Mr Kerin said that Professor Garnaut will travel to Washington next month to make a special presentation of the study and its findings to the Institute for International Economics.

Copies of Grain in China can be obtained from AGPS bookshops.