On July 20, officials from Australia and China announced a long-anticipated agreement on health certification requirements that will open the Chinese market to imports of feeder and slaughter cattle from Australia. Previously, Australia’s exports of live cattle to China were limited to dairy cattle and breeding stock.
Australia’s exports of live cattle reached 584,169 head in the first five months of 2015, up 11 percent year-over-year. Indonesia accounted for 50 percent of the total, but growth was driven by Vietnam (169,632 head, +134 percent). Australia’s live exporters are eager to open additional markets, especially with the recent sharp decline in import permits from Indonesia, where third-quarter import permits were allotted for just 50,000 head compared to 167,000 head in the same period last year.
Access to the Chinese market will be even further enhanced when the recently finalized China-Australia Free Trade Agreement is implemented, which will likely be before the end of this year. China’s import duties on Australian livestock are currently 10 percent, and will be eliminated over a four-year period under the FTA. China’s duties on imports of Australian beef cuts, which are currently 12 percent (except chilled and frozen carcasses/half carcasses, for which duties are 20 percent and 25 percent, respectively), will be eliminated over nine years.