BEEF exporters and Australian government trade officials are remaining tight-lipped about an out-of-left-field Chinese move to suspend product from six Australian businesses.
The hope is that holding fire will allow diplomatic channels and Australia’s Chinese business partners the space required to solve the issue quickly.
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) staff have confirmed six establishments have been suspended by the Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China (AQSIQ).
Speculation on the reasons behind the suspension and how long it might last was not helpful to Australia’s cause, exporters said.
Likewise, it was far too early to put estimates on what the cost to the Australian industry might be.
However, there was confirmation from exporters that the issue was labelling-related.
And that meetings were scheduled for all day tomorrow in a bid to address the issue.
A DAWR statement said Australia was a trading nation and agricultural trading relationships were important to its economy.
Australia and China had a strong bilateral trade relationship, it said.
“Australia values its reputation as a reliable exporter of high quality agricultural products, and we take our obligations to meet importing country requirements very seriously,” the statement said.
The Department was working with industry and Chinese authorities to resolve the matter urgently.
Beef industry commentators also did not want to be drawn in, mindful of any negative implications to Australian businesses.
However, one made the point that China’s high regard for food safety and security was well known.