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$700 million grains trade to China secured by new AQIS agreement.



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HON WARREN TRUSS MP MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY

9 April 2000 AFFA00/59WT

$700 MILLION GRAINS TRADE TO CHINA SECURED BY NEW AQIS AGREEMENT

Australia’s $700 million a year wheat and barley exports to the People’s Republic of China have been secured following the signing of an agreement that gives Australian growers an enviable advantage in the highly competitive world grains market, the Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss, announced today.

Speaking in Longreach at the National Party Central Council meeting, Mr Truss said the agreement is great news for Australian grain growers looking to secure the long-term viability of the lucrative Chinese market.

"China is one of our most important export grains customers, and we’ve exported wheat and barley there for many years using certification of freedom from six pests of concern to China," Mr Truss said.

"In 1998, Chinese authorities added a further three pests — a fungus, a nematode worm and barley stripe mosaic virus — to their list of pests of quarantine concern."

Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) officers presented scientific information to China that Pyrenophora fungus is present in Australia but is not an economically important pest of wheat and barley; that barley stripe mosaic virus has been eradicated in Australia, and that the Anguina nematode worm has never been recorded here.

"The agreement will formally come into effect as soon as Chinese authorities have completed legal requirements," Mr Truss said.

"I am delighted that AQIS has been able to negotiate an agreement that does so much to enhance Australia’s export industries.

"AQIS personnel worked closely with officers of China’s State Administration for Inspection and Quarantine and with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to resolve China’s concerns on a scientific basis.

"This is yet another example of how sound scientific evidence is a powerful argument in securing market access for Australia’s clean and green primary industry exports."

Further inquiries: Minister's office: Andrew Hall (02) 6277 7520 or 0419 996 766 AQIS: Bill Magee (02) 6272 3922 or 0417 069 457

Last updated 10 April 2000 URL: http://www.affa.gov.au/ Commonwealth of Australia 2000