Australian and Chinese Agriculture Ministers hold face-to-face talks in Rome

Image courtesy: Pixabay

Meeting for the first time since 2019, Australia’s Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt and Mr Renjian Tang, China’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs have taken another step towards stabilising the relationship between the two countries.

“My meeting with Mr Tang and his delegation in Rome was very productive,” said Minister Watt.

“The meeting provided the opportunity to continue to stabilise the relationships between our two countries and to explore areas of joint cooperation. There is a shared interest in exploring opportunities for agricultural collaboration, including in the areas of sustainability, technology, biosecurity and soil health.

“I welcomed progress we have seen in recent times in resolving trade impediments, particularly relating to cotton and timber.

“But I also made clear that there is still more to be done and that we wish to see China remove trade impediments that remain in place, particularly in relation to barley, wine, beef and rock lobster.

“I was heartened by feedback from Mr Tang that Chinese demand for high quality Australian agricultural produce remains strong.”

Minister Watt also met with several key EU Agriculture Ministers on the sidelines of the 43rd Conference of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome, as negotiations ramp up to conclude a comprehensive trade agreement between Australia and the EU.

“It was very useful to meet with the European Union’s Agriculture Commissioner, along with Agriculture Ministers and officials from Germany, Spain, Ireland, Sweden, Slovakia, Poland, Portugal and others, to reaffirm Australia’s strong desire to see the deal come to fruition,” said Minister Watt.

“However I strongly reiterated to them that Australia would not sign a deal, unless it offers commercially meaningful markets for our agricultural producers.”

The biennial FAO Conference continues in Rome today.

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