McKenzie embarks on Asian trade mission

McKenzie embarks on Asian trade mission

Federal Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie.

Federal Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie.


Ag Minister eyes fresh opportunities for farm sector in Japan, South Korea and Vietnam.


Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie has embarked on her first trade tour, visiting Japan, South Korea and Vietnam to promote trade with our northern neighbours.

"This visit to Japan, South Korea and Vietnam is about strengthening our economic relationships and our people-to-people ties," Ms McKenzie said.

She was joined on the tour by representatives from the National Farmers' Federation and commodity group representatives.

Australia signed free trade agreements with Korea and Japan in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

They are key markets for Australian beef, dairy, sugar, grains, and wine and the farm sector is keen to further reduce export barriers.

Vietnam is a member of the ASEAN trading bloc, along with Australia, New Zealand and 10 south east Asian nations.

It's governed by one-party communist state but it's economy is opening up to foreign investment. It's already a significant market for wheat, malt and cotton.

Vietnam offers export potential for Australia producers of livestock, red meat, wheat, dairy and fresh fruit.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited Vietnam last week, when Australia increased the number of Work and Holiday Maker visa places for Vietnamese nationals from 200 to 1500 a year.

Ms McKenzie said there are "real opportunities" for Australian agriculture to increase its exports into Asia.

"Our first stop is Japan, a critically important market for Australia's farmers because of our long-standing relationship which has helped Japan become our second largest agricultural export market, worth $6 billion in 2018.

"Today I'm visiting Rokko Butter, Japan's largest processed dairy company that sources 50 per cent of its supply from Australia. It's a tangible example of the sort of outcomes we can achieve for both nations when businesses work together.

NFF chief executive Tony Mahar said Australian agriculture had to work hard to maintain and grow its presence in south east Asia.

"Farmers export three quarters of what they produce, the importance of nurturing international trade relationships, can't be overstated," Mr Mahar.

"With competitors constantly putting pressure on Australia's market share, it's critical we remain engaged and listen to our customers in these markets.

"The visit provides an important opportunity to build on our already strong agricultural trade ties with these countries."


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