• Hannah Phillips

The Australian Premium Food Forum 2017


One of the issues that has emerged from the development of agricultural exports to China as a consequence of China - Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) is the need to establish Australia in the Chinese market as a reputable source of premium food.


On August 8, the first Australian Premium Food Forum was held at Parliament House in Canberra under the auspices of ‘Australian Insider’.

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister, responsible for Cities and Digital Transformation, Angus Taylor opened the Forum with a speech covering technology based improvements, firstly in regional cities through the increased use of smart technology, including in the retail sector, which enhances the market for premium food; and, secondly, through technology based agriculture which promotes productivity, from satellite crop management to self-driving tractors controlled by drones.

In a comment on relations with China, he mentioned that the structure of government in Australia did not lend itself to the endorsement of huge programs like the ‘One Belt, One Road’ programme and it was more a case of doing it in smaller steps on a project by project basis.

In a subsequent interview with Jethro Lyu, Mr Taylor also mentioned the improved logistic situation, not just in the big cities like Sydney but in regional centres like Goulburn, which are now starting to get infrastructure investment.

An example of potential Chinese investment that could advantage regional centres was exemplified by internet retailers like Alibaba, the develop of the Alibaba post office which allows people to pick up their ordered goods by entering a code into a safe that contains the ordered items, solving the ‘last leg’ delivery problem in a convenient and safe way.

Assistant Minister for Health, Dr David Gillespie, gave the key note speech on food safety and announced the official launch of the Australian Premium Food Export Association (APFEA).

Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry, gave a presentation on beef.

She also introduced Rockhampton as the beef capital of Australia and gave an overview of the area’s future water and irrigation plans.

Counsellor Rengang Huang, of the Chinese Embassy in Canberra, also addressed the forum.

He believes that the health care sector has been the category that has increased the fastest, almost nine-fold last year, in exports from Australia to China.

Other industries that have been increasing rapidly are wine, beef and lamb, however some industries that many Chinese Australian exporters are not as familiar with are wheat, barley and wool.

Counsellor Huang believes that there will be a great future for agriculture exports.

He also believes that assemblies like the Australian Premium Food Forum are a good place to encourage joint trade and development.

Under the ChAFTA, Australian agricultural products have advantages, which is why Chinese imports of Australian wine have been increasing dramatically.

He hopes that, between Australia and China, the agricultural product trade in the future should be “equal, mutually beneficial, and sustainable.”

Jethro Lyu closed the Australian Premium Food Forum by thanking Gold Sponsor Marvel Health.

Roger Hausmann

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